Top aide Hope Hicks to leave White House

Thursday, 2018-03-01 12:47:13
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White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (Photo: Reusters)
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Hope Hicks, one of U.S. President Donald Trump's longest-serving and most trusted aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director, a blow to the president, whose inner circle has been depleted by firings and clouded by scandal.

The White House announced Hicks, 29, was leaving a day after she spent nine hours in a closed hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Hicks' decision to leave was not related to her appearance before the panel, where lawmakers said she declined to answer questions about the administration. Trump called her "a truly great person" whom he would miss having at his side.

The Republican president has presided over an extraordinary amount of turnover among senior staff in his White House since entering office more than a year ago.

His first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, stepped down last summer, and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon was fired. Four people, including Hicks and former press secretary Sean Spicer, who also resigned, have held the communications director mantle.

Lawmakers said Hicks, Trump's spokeswoman during the 2016 election campaign, did answer House panel questions on Tuesday (February 27) about her time with the campaign, and the transition months between the November election and the January 2017 inauguration.

Hicks said in her own statement that "there are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump. I wish the president and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country."

Hicks' exact departure was unclear but is expected to be sometime over the next few weeks.