Hope Hicks Testifies Her Job Requires Her to Lie

I just said to a friend yesterday: "I have been thinking a lot lately about how thorough the normalization of Trump has become. So much so that no one even talks about the normalization of Trump anymore. It's just NORMAL."

THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Nicholas Fandos at the New York Times: Hope Hicks Acknowledges She Sometimes Tells White Lies for Trump.
Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, told House investigators on Tuesday that her work for [Donald] Trump, who has a reputation for exaggerations and outright falsehoods, had occasionally required her to tell white lies.

But after extended consultation with her lawyers, she insisted that she had not lied about matters material to the investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible links to Trump associates, according to three people familiar with her testimony.

The exchange came during more than eight hours of private testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Ms. Hicks declined to answer similar questions about other figures from the Trump campaign or the White House.

She also pointedly and repeatedly declined to answer questions about the presidential transition or her time in the White House, lawmakers who sat in on the testimony said, telling investigators that she had been asked by the White House to discuss only her time on the campaign. They added that she did not formally invoke executive privilege.

A lawyer for Ms. Hicks declined to comment.
It is not normal that the White House Communications Director would have to testify before Congress because the president is suspected of colluding with a foreign adversary.

It is not normal that a Comms Director would testify that lying on behalf of the president is part of her job duties.

It is not normal that the Congressmembers questioning her would accept her improbable account that she lies, but never about the subject they're investigating.

It is not normal that a member of a White House administration would refuse to answer questions and also be allowed to not answer questions despite not formally invoking executive privilege.

NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL. And neither is this:
When Stephen K. Bannon, who served as Mr. Trump's chief strategist until he was forced out in August, similarly refused to testify about his work for the presidential transition team and the White House, Republicans on the committee quickly subpoenaed him. Mr. Bannon continued to refuse to talk about those subjects, and lawmakers are weighing whether to initiate contempt proceedings.

There was no indication that Republicans would subpoena Ms. Hicks.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee, said Republicans were applying a double standard to Mr. Bannon — who has been exiled from Mr. Trump's circles after disparaging the Trump children in a book by the author Michael Wolff — and all other witnesses. He urged Republicans who control the committee to subpoena Ms. Hicks.

"That's an overly broad claim of privilege that I don't think any court of law would sustain. And I think the White House knows that," Mr. Schiff said. "This is not executive privilege, it is executive stonewalling."

...Mr. Schiff said that important questions had been left unaddressed.

A fixture of Mr. Trump's inner circle throughout the campaign and in the White House, Ms. Hicks is viewed as a valuable witness by investigators. She was involved in the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director in May and the drafting of a statement in July in response to questions about a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Russians and top Trump campaign officials. The statement and its drafting have attracted the interest of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Ms. Hicks refused to answer questions about both, lawmakers said.
Abnormal and unacceptable.

But in 405 days, much of the American public, including and especially most of the people with the power to hold the Trump administration accountable, have become inured to this intolerable demolishment of norms.

To the lasting despair of anyone who doesn't welcome authoritarian rule.

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