Former White House Director of Communications Hope Hicks testified behind closed doors for the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. A transcript of the interview revealed that Hicks declined to answer more than 150 questions, citing immunity.
Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) was especially rude during the interview, referring to Hicks on three separate occasions as “Ms. Lewandowski” even though she introduced herself as “Hope Hicks.” Lewandowski is the last name of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
During his questioning of Hicks, Nadler asked if the former communications director was asserting privilege in declining to answer questions relating to her time as an adviser to President Donald Trump. After going back and forth with Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to Trump, Nadler directed his attention to Hicks to try and get her to answer whether she was asserting any privilege.
“Ms. Lewandowski?” he asked.
Hicks let it slide and simply said she was “following instructions from the White House.”
Later in the testimony, Nadler against used the wrong name to refer to Hicks.
“Ms. Lewandowski – sorry – Ms. Hicks, read the next two sentences also if you have it,” he instructed. Hicks and White House attorneys had been provided a copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
The third time Nadler referred to her as “Ms. Lewandowski,” Hicks corrected him:
Chairman Nadler: Yeah. Ms. Lewandowski, I think, in reading this–
Ms. Hicks: My name is Ms. Hicks.
Chairman Nadler: I’m sorry, Ms. Hicks. I’m preoccupied.
The Judiciary Committee released the 273-page transcript. Chuck Ross, a reporter with The Daily Caller, uploaded it to Scribd.
Some speculated that Nadler called Hicks “Ms. Lewandowski” because of an unconfirmed rumor that she had an affair with Corey Lewandowski. Members of the left-wing media, of course, jumped to Nadler’s defense.
John Harwood, who covers national politics for CNBC, said on Twitter he was “pretty sure Nadler didn’t call her ‘Ms. Lewandowski’ on purpose.”
Harwood responded to another user’s assessment of his tweet by asking why Nadler would purposefully call Hicks by a different name. “[H]e’s smart enough to know it would only make him look terrible. [sic] and that kind of taunting doesn’t really match his personality.”
New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush used a similar defense of Nadler, asking a Twitter user: “Do you have evidence – either from sources or his prior behavior – that would suggest he did that intentionally?”
This defense causes its own problems for Nadler. Harwood and Thrush insist this was some sort of accident, but that suggests something is wrong with Nadler right now and he probably shouldn’t be conducting hearings if he can’t keep people’s names straight.
At the end of May, Nadler appeared to faint at a press conference and was taken to the hospital, The Daily Wire previously reported. Nadler later tweeted that he simply became dehydrated in the heat of the room and received fluids at the hospital.