(Reuters) – An legal professional for former White Home Communications Director Hope Hicks denied on Friday that she was concerned in discussions through the 2016 presidential marketing campaign a couple of hush-money cost to a porn star who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with President Donald Trump.
FILE PHOTO: Former White Home Communications Director Hope Hicks arrives for a closed door interview earlier than the Home Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Her lawyer, Robert Trout, issued an announcement a day after newly unsealed FBI paperwork raised new questions on Hicks’ June 19 testimony to the U.S. Home of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Hicks, previously one in every of Trump’s closest aides, instructed lawmakers she was by no means current for discussions between Trump and his former private lawyer Michael Cohen a couple of cost to porn star Stormy Daniels.
“Experiences claiming that Ms. Hicks was concerned in conversations about ‘hush cash’ funds on October eight, 2016, or knew that funds had been being mentioned, are merely mistaken,” Trout mentioned in his assertion on Friday. “Ms. Hicks stands by her truthful testimony that she first turned conscious of this problem in early November 2016, as the results of press inquiries, and he or she will likely be responding formally to Chairman Nadler’s letter as requested.”
At a decide’s order, the federal government printed on Thursday a 19-page part of its software in 2018 for a warrant to go looking Cohen’s house and workplace that had beforehand been redacted. The brand new materials cited a number of cellphone calls involving Hicks in assist of the applying.
The doc prompt that Trump was actively concerned in engineering the cost. However the president has denied having intercourse with Daniels, whose authorized title is Stephanie Clifford, and mentioned he had no information on the time of funds to her.
Home Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler despatched Hicks a letter late on Thursday asking her to make clear her testimony in mild of “obvious inconsistencies.”
One other Democratic Home panel chairman, Consultant Elijah Cummings of the Home Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote to Deputy U.S. Lawyer Audrey Strauss of Manhattan on Friday to ask if prosecutors selected to not indict Trump over the hush cost, due to a Justice Division coverage to not deliver legal expenses in opposition to a sitting president.
Hicks was press secretary for Trump’s presidential marketing campaign in October 2016, the interval throughout which the FBI doc outlines how Cohen organized to pay Daniels $130,000 to avert a scandal.
The marketing campaign was already reeling from the discharge on Oct. 7 of the 2005 “Entry Hollywood” tape by which Trump bragged about grabbing ladies by the genitals.
The doc outlines a number of weeks of cellphone calls and textual content messages between Cohen, Trump officers and executives from the Nationwide Enquirer tabloid newspaper, lots of which the federal government believed had been in regards to the payoff to Daniels.
Starting on Oct. eight, 2016, there was a pointy uptick in calls between Cohen, Trump and Hicks as Cohen started negotiations with Daniels’ lawyer to purchase her silence, in accordance with the FBI agent who wrote the doc.
That night, Hicks initiated what would change into a four-minute, three-way name with Trump and Cohen, in accordance with the doc.
Cohen would have two additional cellphone calls that night with Hicks amid a flurry of calls with executives from American Media Inc, which publishes the Nationwide Enquirer and helped bury dangerous press for Trump by shopping for the rights to unflattering tales.
Earlier than Oct. eight, Cohen had not spoken on the cellphone with Hicks for “at the least” a number of weeks, the doc mentioned.
It mentioned Cohen and Hicks spoke once more for 3 minutes late on Oct. 28, the day after Cohen had made the $130,000 cost to Daniels’ lawyer and because the remaining paperwork for the deal was being drawn up.
Cohen additionally spoke with Hicks and Keith Davidson, the lawyer for Daniels, a number of instances on Nov. four after Trump’s circle discovered the Wall Road Journal was about to publish an article saying the Nationwide Enquirer had “shielded” Trump from allegations by former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal that she and Trump had had an affair. Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal.
Cohen had at the least two extra calls that night with Hicks earlier than the Journal story was printed on-line, the FBI doc mentioned. The subsequent morning, Cohen despatched a textual content message to Hicks saying he felt the Journal story was getting “little to no traction.”
“Identical,” Hicks texted again. “Maintain praying!! It’s working!”
Cohen is serving three years in jail after pleading responsible final 12 months to breaking marketing campaign finance legal guidelines by the hush-money scheme, in addition to different monetary crimes.
Reporting by David Morgan in Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; extra reporting by Jeff Mason; Enhancing by Tom Brown