Hope Hicks Seen Boarding Air Force One Before Trump Ohio Rally, Fuels Witness Tampering Fears
Former White House communications director Hope Hicks was seen boarding Air Force One before President Donald Trump left for a rally in Ohio on Saturday.
Hicks, 29, was spotted boarding the presidential plane at a New Jersey airport. She resigned as communications director in March after admitting in testimonies before lawmakers that she had told “white lies” for Trump about several controversies involving the president and his closest associates. Hicks held the position — her first foray in politics — for only seven months after replacing Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted just ten days. Scaramucci resigned following an expletive-filled tirade against former administration officials Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus.
Hicks has since fueled speculation about a possible return to the White House. According to Vanity Fair, she joked with reporters about accepting suggestions for future job opportunities and also asserted she would be open to becoming Trump’s chief of staff.
“There aren’t that many places where she feels safe and secure,” a source told Vanity Fair of Hicks.
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The magazine also reported that Hicks had planned to spend the weekend at one of Trump’s golf courses in New Jersey with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, although the president urged her to join him in Ohio after he found out she was in town.
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In May, it was revealed that the Republican National Committee paid nearly $500,000 to a law firm that represented Hicks and other Trump associates in special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation.
On Monday, former U.S. attorney Chuck Rosenberg and Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence under Mueller, discussed on MSNBC how Hicks’ latest visit — along with Trump’s conversations with her and other White House officials about the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians — raise concerns about possible witness tampering.
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“[Trump] has subjected himself to yet more questioning by Bob Mueller, if that ever happens, and he’s putting Hope Hicks into a box where she’s likely to be re-interviewed perhaps for hours again about what transpired on that airplane, whether the president and his aides are attempting to tamper with her and her testimony,” said Figuliuzzi. “It’s all a very bad idea,” he added of Trump invited Hicks aboard Air Force One.
Hicks is a former model who also worked in PR for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.
According to recent reports, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly plans to stay in this position until 2020, when Trump’s first term ends, although he could resign after that.
Most former Trump administration officials have had a difficult time finding career prospects after leaving the White House. Former press secretary Sean Spicer and communications adviser Omarosa Manigault-Newman are two such examples.
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