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U.S. House panel releases transcript of Hicks interview

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U.S. House panel releases transcript of Hicks interview
FILE PHOTO: Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks returns to a closed door interview before the House Judiciary Committee following a break on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein   -   Copyright  AARON P. BERNSTEIN(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a transcript of its closed-door interview with Hope Hicks, a former close aide to President Donald Trump who refused to answer lawmakers’ questions about her 14-month tenure at the White House.

Democrats who lead the panel said lawyers from the White House and Justice Department blocked the 30-year-old public relations consultant from answering questions 155 times.

But she told lawmakers that the Trump campaign welcomed Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign and defended the campaign’s use of hacked emails released by Wikileaks as publicly available information, according to a statement by committee Democrats.

Hicks, who was Trump’s campaign press secretary and his White House communications director, spent eight hours in a closed-door committee hearing on Wednesday. Three White House attorneys and a lawyer from the Justice Department, who were in the room with her, insisted she was immune from testifying about her White House tenure.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, want Hicks to answer questions about five episodes in the Mueller report that they believe contain evidence of obstruction of justice by Trump.

They also questioned her about hush payments during the 2016 campaign to two women, including porn star Stormy Daniels, who claimed they had affairs with Trump.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)

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