To hear the mainstream media describe it, we’re looking at a crucial moment today in the Trump-Russia scandal when White House Communications Director Hope Hicks testifies before Congress. At the risk of sounding a bit too much like Donald Trump, wrong. Something notable is going on here today with Hicks’ testimony, but it’s essentially the opposite of what’s being portrayed.
If Hicks were testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, or even the Senate Judiciary Committee, it would be a fairly serious matter. These committees, to varying degrees, have been running serious investigations into the Trump-Russia scandal. But there’s a reason that these committees have largely stopped calling these kinds of key Trump-Russia players. They don’t want to interfere with the tangled web of indictments, charges and plea deals that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been weaving with these key players.
So why is the House Intel Committee hauling in Hope Hicks right now? In short, that committee is controlled by Trump stooges like Devin Nunes, and the aim here is to sabotage Robert Mueller’s investigation. They must think that Hicks is about to cut a plea deal with Mueller, and they’re trying to find out what she’s going to tell him. We’ve seen them do it with other key witnesses before. That’s not to say that there won’t be enlightening moments during Hicks’ testimony today.
For one thing, the Democrats on the House Intel Committee – even though they have no control over the witness list at this point – can still use their allotted time to ask important questions. Hicks may not answer them, but at least they can get their probing questions on the record. However, the most important developments today may be the kinds of questions the Republicans ask, because that’ll tell us what the Trump side fears Hicks is going to tell Mueller. Also watch for which questions Hicks refuses to answer, because those are the things she may be saving for Mueller.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report