'It's a farce!' Furious Democrats lash out at Hope Hicks for REFUSING to answer questions at Judiciary Committee interrogation as Trump called obstruction inquiry 'rigged'

House Democrats are fuming that White House lawyers are keeping longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks from answering questions during her closed-door Judiciary Committee testimony about her time with the president.
The lawyer, armed with a White House counsel letter declaring whole categories of questioning off limits, repeatedly raised objections during testimony by Hicks, according to the lawmakers. 
After Hicks sat for hours behind closed doors, Wednesday, Democrats vented that Hicks' attorney was getting in the way of unearthing new information about Hicks' tenure at the White House and the presidential transition, when she access to a wealth of information about Trump.
Democrats forecast that they wanted to grill her about Russia and Stormy Daniels, among other topics.
'It's a farce,' said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a panel member from Washington state. Lawmakers claim that Hicks, who no longer works at the White House, repeatedly deferred to the White House lawyer on what topics she would answer. 
Panel members said a White House lawyer present during questioning repeatedly invoked a letter by White House counsel Pat Cipollone claiming she was 'immune' from certain areas of questioning.
Said Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island: 'She has answered some and mostly she is hiding behind the facetious claim of complete immunity about anything to do with her service in the White House.'
'We're watching obstruction of justice in action,' complained Rep. Ted Lieu of California, Politico reported. 
The Democratic complaints came as President Trump attacked Democrat-run congressional hearings as 'RIGGED.'
'DEMOCRAT CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ARE #RIGGED!' Trump fumed on Twitter, using a hashtag for a term he used to complain about the election process during his 2016 campaign for the presidency. 
Trump didn't single out a particular inquiry, but his tweet came less than two hours after his longtime press aide strode through the Capitol's corridors on the way to the Demoratic-run House Judiciary Committee. The panel holds its second hearing on the Mueller report Thursday, while other House committees are probing his personal finances, his administration's use of the Census, and his immigration policy.
Among the topics panel members were determined to grill her about were the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians and hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump. 
The president complained about Hicks having to appear – she negotiated her appearance after a subpoena even as the White House said she was immune from certain lines of questioning – and vented about Hillary Clinton. 
'The Dems are very unhappy with the Mueller Report, so after almost 3 years, they want a Redo, or Do Over. This is extreme Presidential Harassment. They gave Crooked Hillary's people complete Immunity, yet now they bring back Hope Hicks,' Trump wrote. 
'Why aren't the Dems looking at the ... 33,000 Emails that Hillary and her lawyer deleted and acid washed AFTER GETTING A SUBPOENA FROM CONGRESS? That is real Obstruction that the Dems want no part of because their hearings are RIGGED and a disgrace to our Country!' he wrote 

Outside the House Judiciary Committee room, Democrats weren't happy either.  
Hicks arrived on Capitol Hill early Wednesday to be questioned by the House Judiciary Committee on her former boss's alleged attempts to obstruct Robert Mueller.
The one-time aide, who was at his side from before his campaign launch until leaving the White House in March 2018, said nothing as she walked into the committee room, accompanied by her personal attorney Robert Trout.
She is expected to be questioned behind closed doors by the Democratic-controlled committee for hours.
But her appearance is likely to be stormy after Trump's White House attorney launched a bid Tuesday evening to derail Hicks from discussing secrets of her time with the president.
Hicks is to become the first 'star witness' in the Democratic-controlled controlled committee's inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice during Robert Mueller's Special Counsel inquiry.

Democrats believe Hicks can provide important insights into five episodes of potential obstruction by Trump that were described in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. 
They also expect Hicks to shed light on alleged hush payments during the campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Trump, including porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied the affairs.
She flashed a brief smile as she walked through Capitol corridors Wednesday, sporting a Ralph Lauren wool blend that goes for $2,300 on the company website – although it is currently marked down to $916. She modeled for the label as a teenager.
Hicks left the White House in March 2018, shortly after her then lover Rob Porter, Trump's staff secretary, who was forced out when DailyMail.com revealed he was accused of beating both his ex-wives.
She is now chief communications officer of Fox, which owns Fox News, Fox Sports, and some local Fox channels. The job is based in Los Angeles.
Hicks will be the committee's 'first fact witness,' said Jamie Raskin, a Democratic lawmaker on the committee, which is planning for a lengthy inquiry. 'Having somebody talking about what happened from a personal perspective will be a dramatic debut for the committee,' Raskin said.
But with just over 12 hours to go, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to committee chair Jerrold Nadler to say that the White House will assert executive privilege over any discussion about her dealings with Trump while in office.
That sets up a clash between the White House and the Democrats when Hicks, who was part of Trump's inner circle during the 2016 campaign and in the first 14 months of his presidency, gives evidence.
She was subpoenaed to testify and is due to appear at 9 a.m. on Wednesday for a closed-door interview that aides said could run well into the evening.
The committee will afterward release a transcript of her testimony that is expected to feature prominently in a House Judiciary hearing on Thursday. 
At that time, lawmakers plan to examine an ABC News interview in which Trump said there would be nothing wrong with accepting damaging information on a U.S. political opponent from a foreign government.
Democrats see those comments as an invitation to foreigners to interfere in the 2020 campaign as Trump seeks reelection.
Mueller's 448-page report concluded there was insufficient evidence to establish that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow in 2016, despite extensive contacts between the campaign and Russia.
It is unclear how helpful Hicks, a 30-year-old public relations consultant, will be, given White House efforts to prevent former Trump aides from cooperating with a string of congressional investigations into Trump.
The White House is expected to have at least one lawyer in the room with Hicks on Wednesday. The administration has already directed her not to give the committee any documents pertaining to her White House tenure, which ended in March 2018. But she has handed over documents related to the 2016 campaign, raising expectations she will testify on those topics.
Hicks' attorney did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Democrats want Hicks to discuss a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower in New York, where the Mueller report said campaign officials, including the president's son Donald Trump Jr., met with Russians offering 'dirt' on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. A key question is whether Trump himself was aware of the meeting at the time.
Aides said the committee's main focus, however, was on alleged obstruction by Trump involving former White House Counsel Don McGahn, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Mueller report described the president's efforts to impede Mueller´s probe, but stopped short of declaring that he committed a crime.
The report recounts how in July 2017, Trump directed Hicks to issue a misleading statement to the press saying only that the Trump Tower meeting had been about Russian adoption.
'I would like to know about her involvement in that process and what she personally knew happened,' said Ted Lieu, a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. 'She was involved in that whole chain of events, where the president lied about what actually happened.'
Hicks was also present for two separate episodes that Mueller cited as offering relevant evidence of obstruction after Trump took office: his efforts to get Sessions to redirect the Russia probe away from his 2016 election campaign team, and his attempts to persuade McGahn to deny that Trump asked him to remove Mueller.
Lawmakers expect Hicks to decline to answer questions on key topics by citing Trump's executive privilege over the Mueller report. At such points, aides said the committee would try to negotiate an agreement to allow testimony.
Experts said lawmakers could also seek a federal court order directing her to testify, an action the full House authorized in a party-line vote last week.
House Republicans dismiss the committee probe as political overreach calculated to placate Democratic voters who want Trump impeached.
'It just seems like the Democrats are trying to influence the 2020 election and using the committees to do so,' said Debbie Lesko, a Republican on the panel.
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