On Wednesday, one of Trump's former White House communications directors testified behind closed doors in front of the House Judiciary Committee. On Thursday, the committee published a transcript of Hope Hicks' testimony from the day before, and it's pretty telling.
The full transcript, which can be read here, includes, among other things, the House Judiciary Committee's questions for Hicks about her time as communications director for the Trump administration. However, Hicks revealed little during her appearance. According to Politico, she refused to answer 155 questions from House Democrats during her testimony on Wednesday.
The multiple objections instantly became a topic on Twitter after the transcript was released and reporters shared screenshots of White House attorneys repeatedly objecting to House Democrats' questions. The former Trump confidante also declined to answer questions related to conversations between Trump and herself, conversations with White House officials, as well as her responses to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Beginning in 2017, Mueller led the federal probe into potential collusion between Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential election and ultimately declared that the Trump campaign did not collaborate with the Kremlin.
That said, the Mueller report did not exonerate Trump either and noted that his campaign would "would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts."
At another moment during her appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee (which lasted some eight hours, per The Hill), Hicks was asked whether she had ever met the adult entertainment performer Stormy Daniels.
In March 2018, Daniels claimed on 60 Minutes that she had a one-time extramarital affair with Trump in 2006. The president has repeatedly denied Daniels' claim through official statements from the White House. During her testimony, Hicks claimed that she had never met the adult entertainment celebrity, adding that she was "in high school in 2005."
The transcript, which is some 273 pages long, shows the various questions Hicks' attorneys objected to answering. For example, attorneys refused to answer questions about the recusal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the federal Russia investigation in 2017 as well as Trump firing former FBI Director James Comey the same year. But people also noted lighter exchanges from Hicks' testimony, including a moment where she briefly talked about her iPhone.
The repeated objections from White House attorneys who sat by Hicks' side did not go unnoticed by House Democrats. At one point, House Judiciary Committee's chairman Jerry Nadler asked Hicks' lawyers why she couldn't respond to his question. One of the White House lawyers, Michael Purpura, stated that under "absolute immunity," Hicks "may not speak about anything that occurred during the time of her employment in the White House as a close adviser to the president."
Although Nadler told USA Today that he was satisfied in "some ways" with Hicks' testimony, he added nonetheless, "The White House pleaded a non-existent, absolute immunity and that will not stand." The outlet also reported Democratic Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar lamented, "This is an obstruction of Congress’ ability to do our job and uphold our oath. It’s unacceptable. We have to begin an inquiry soon."
"They’re not even allowing her to comment on what’s in a publicly available report, the Mueller report," Escobar added. "It’s unbelievable."