From the Daily Beast:
As Donald Trump’s comms operation has reached a Lord of the Flies level of disarray, the president and many of his staffers find themselves waxing romantic about a bygone Hope Hicks era.
Hicks’ departure left a leadership vacuum in the West Wing that has yet to be filled.
“He obviously misses her and still talks about her often,” the West Wing aide noted, comparing it to “empty nest syndrome.”
Hicks’ value to Trump often had little to do with her official title. She was a prominent source of personal support and comfort for an increasingly isolated president and considered like close family.
“I don’t know that anyone else can really do the job the way it needs to be done because of how the president operates,” a former Trump White House official previously told The Daily Beast. “Hope always seemed like the only workable solution to that. Big loss in that respect.”
The piece suggests that the lack of a likable leader has made internecine conflict in the White House, and the resulting leaking, even worse.
According to two sources who have spoken with the president about this issue in recent days, he has expressed his desire for at least one prominent “leaker” to be conclusively identified and “dealt with,” in order to make an example of him or her.
That would be a good start.
I initially was going to write that she would testify before the House panel, but it’s not clear that’s going to happen.
From the Washington Post:
Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s closest aides and advisers, is scheduled to speak behind closed doors Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee in a meeting lawmakers fear could deepen their standoff with the White House over witnesses refusing to answer questions.
Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), who is running the panel’s Russia investigation, said in an interview Monday that he “would not be surprised” if Hicks followed the example of other close Trump aides and advisers who have simply refused to answer certain questions, arguing that the president might want to invoke executive privilege at some point in the future.
Hicks currently works as the White House communications director, but her proximity to Trump and long history of working with the Trump family make her testimony potentially valuable to the panel’s ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. In particular, Hicks is likely to face questions about a statement she helped draft on Air Force One addressing a June 2016 meeting that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort held with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower. The misleading statement has raised questions about whether there was a deliberate attempt to obstruct justice surrounding the meeting.
The appearance has been delayed for months. She has already testified to special prosecutor Robert Mueler, back in December. If anybody has the keys to the kingdom, it’s Hicks, who has been constantly at President Trump’s side since the early days of the campaign. But there’s also no one more loyal.