Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Tom Rooney (R-FL) say Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee questioned White House Communications Director Hope Hicks in a manner that forced her to acknowledge she sometimes tells “white lies” for President Donald Trump.
“It truly was just a setup of this witness, who was trying to be forthright and honest,” Stewart told CNN Friday. “The question was so broad. It was, ‘In any circumstances, regardless of what it might be, have you ever felt any pressure to be deceitful or to be dishonest regarding any subject?’ And she answered it honestly. And that is, anyone in that circumstance, there is none of us in our lives that can say we have always been 100 percent honest.”
On Tuesday, Hicks spent nine hours testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee and reportedly admitted that she occasionally tells “white lies” for Trump.
Stewart also told CNN that Republicans interrupted the Democrats line of questioning to clarify whether Hicks had been untruthful in connection with the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and she answered saying “no, absolutely not.”
Rep. Rooney made similar claims on Wednesday, saying the line of questions — which was reportedly led by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) — was “bullshit” and a “trap.”
“They sent her down a rabbit hole that she could not get out of. And it was completely unfair,” Rooney told CBS News. “I think the fair representation is that it was a setup: Use an extremely gratuitously broad question to make her look bad and ignore the rest of the nine hours that we were down there,”
Swalwell countered Rooney’s comments and said it was simply “a question that is asked of every witness every day across America — and most people don’t have a hard time answering it,” he told CBS News.
Hicks resigned from her post at the White House a day after her interview with the House Intelligence Committee, but The New York Times and several other outlets report the decision was not because of the testimony and she’d been planning to leave for some time.
Read CBS’ News account of the back-and-forth over questioning Hicks here.