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Court docs show Hope Hicks in contact with Michael Cohen during hush-money discussions  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

WASHINGTON – New court filings show Hope Hicks, then press secretary of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, might have been present for discussions about hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress who had claimed to have had an affair with Trump – potentially contradicting Hicks’ June 2019 testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.

In the filings, authorities laid out a timeline of emails, text messages and phone calls – some involving Trump himself – that "concerned the need to prevent" Daniels from going public with her claims. 

The FBI agent investigating the case had concluded, “based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story.”

The documents, part of the FBI’s investigation of the hush-money scheme, show that Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen was in touch with Hicks throughout the process.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Thursday evening sent a letter demanding that Hicks come before the House Judiciary Committee to clarify her testimony following the revelations from the court documents.

"Given the apparent inconsistencies between your testimony and this evidence, I would like to give you an opportunity to clarify your testimony on a voluntary basis, prior to our considering compulsory process," Nadler wrote in the letter.

In a statement released Friday morning, Robert Trout, Hicks' attorney, said "Reports claiming that Ms. Hicks was involved in conversations about 'hush money' payments on October 8, 2016, or knew that payments were being discussed, are simply wrong."

He added that, "Ms. Hicks stands by her truthful testimony that she first became aware of this issue in early November 2016, as the result of press inquiries, and she will be responding formally to Chairman Nadler's letter as requested."

On October 8, Hicks and Cohen spoke several times on the phone, immediately after which Cohen called David Pecker and Dylan Howard, the heads of American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, about buying rights to the story about the alleged affair to keep it from becoming public, a tactic known as catch and kill.

Cohen then called Hicks again after his call with Howard, and then called Trump again later that night.

The content of these calls is not known.

During her June 2019 testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Hicks said she was not present during Trump and Cohen’s discussion of Stormy Daniels and that she never witnessed any discussion of payments to women during the campaign, and that she was “never present for a conversation” about Daniels.

She also claimed she had no “direct knowledge” whether Trump knew Cohen made payments to Daniels during the campaign.

A footnote in the documents notes Hicks had previously told the FBI, “to the best of her recollection, she did not learn about the allegations made by Clifford until early November 2016” though she was never asked by the FBI about the call between Trump, Cohen, and herself.

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