Hope Hicks has resigned from the White House today, which is a startling development. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve been paying attention to the chain of events yesterday which made it rather painfully obvious she was going to cut a deal with Robert Mueller, and that Donald Trump knew Hicks was preparing to sell him out. The big question now is what happens next, with Hicks playing for Team Mueller, even as Trump finds himself in a deeper Trump-Russia hole than ever.
There is no indication that Hope Hicks has any information about the Trump-Russia plot that went on during the election. However, she can be very useful to Mueller when it comes to the obstruction of justice case against Trump for his actions while in the White House. It’s long been reported that when Trump was plotting to protect his son Donald Trump Jr from prosecution, he discussed it with half a dozen senior White House advisers. That makes them witnesses at the least, and guilty of some level of conspiracy to obstruct justice at the most. But we recently learned that Hope Hicks was a different story.
Trump’s former legal spokesman Mark Corallo reportedly testified to Mueller last week that he heard Hicks promising to suppress Trump Jr’s emails. Legally speaking, it’s one thing to be in the room when obstruction of justice is to be plotted, and it’s a whole other thing to be the one volunteering to carry out the actual obstruction. If Mueller has been able to substantiate Corallo’s testimony, Hicks was looking at a major prison sentence. So of course she has to flip. It also means that she can nail Trump for a much deeper and more damning level of obstruction than perhaps any of his other advisers could have.
As far as we know Robert Mueller never did charge Steve Bannon for having been a party to Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice conversations. It appears Mueller simply let him off the hook in exchange for cooperating testimony (although this could turn out to be an entirely different story). In the case of Hope Hicks, we don’t know if Mueller will treat her Michael Flynn, forcing her to plead guilty to criminal charges in exchange for leniency, or if he’ll simply let her off the hook for her cooperation. She already testified for Mueller months ago, but that was before Corallo incriminated her. So we’ll see how the “deal” plays out. But either way, Hicks’ testimony can nail Trump to the wall for obstruction.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report