In February 2020, the White House confirmed former aide to President Donald Trump Hope Hicks will return to the administration. The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reports:
Ms. Hicks’s title when she left belied her influence with Mr. Trump, who felt more personal comfort with her than with almost any other adviser. But on her return, she will report to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and work with the White House political director, Brian Jack. Her title will be “counselor to the president.”
According to Haberman, the administration itself is thrilled for Hicks' return. But others argue Hicks ought to be prosecuted for lying to Congress.
According to ABC News, documents released in July of 2019 indicate Hope Hicks, along with Trump himself, were aware of Michael Cohen's hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. Cohen lied about said payments to Congress; he was sent to prison as a result of these lies, along with other financial crimes.
Per ABC News, Hicks also testified to Congress that she had "no direct knowledge of Cohen's payments to Daniels," but the new records seem to suggest otherwise.
The records – hundreds of pages connected with search warrants issued in 2018 – show that Hicks, along with Trump, spoke by phone to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as Cohen formulated his plan to pay $130,000 to Daniels. The goal was to keep Daniels from going public with her allegations about a tryst with Trump in 2006.
Many feel the released documents should seal Hicks' fate, or at the very least warrant further investigation. If Cohen is serving time for the hush money payments and for lying to Congress, Hicks should be too.
Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, takes issue with the idea that his client remains the only one implicated for the crimes detailed in the released documents. ABC News reports:
“Case closed? Why is Michael Cohen — after all his voluntary cooperation and testimony that Mr. Mueller said was credible and went to “core issues” and all the information and documents he voluntarily provided to prosecutors and to congress — the only member of the Trump company to be prosecuted and imprisoned?" Davis said in the statement. "Especially since prosecutors found that virtually all of Michael’s admitted crimes were done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald Trump? Why?”
Hope Hicks committed perjury, obstruction of justice, and federal election law violations.
Nevertheless, prosecutors reportedly decided Hicks will not be charged due to a lack of evidence, per ABC News.
In no way, the sources said, could Hicks be described as forthcoming. However, she answered questions when asked and her answers led prosecutors to conclude they could not establish that she committed a crime.
Instead, Hicks will rejoin the Trump administration after a two-year absence. Per the New York Times:
Ms. Hicks, 31, worked on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign from its inception and followed him to the White House after he was elected, eventually becoming communications director. Her return will come as his re-election campaign intensifies and as his advisers say the superstitious president has talked about recreating some aspects of that first race.
Some commentators go so far as to say that Hicks did not lie to Congress. According to this group, it all comes down to the specific language in Hicks' testimony; her supporters believe it is this language that will keep Hicks out of the line of fire.