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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Hope Hicks resigns as top Trump aide

White House communications director was earlier revealed to have admitted to telling 'white lies'

White House communications director Hope Hicks leaves the Capitol after attending the House Intelligence Committee. REUTERS/Leah Millis
White House communications director Hope Hicks leaves the Capitol after attending the House Intelligence Committee. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Hope Hicks, one of US President Donald Trump’s longest serving advisers and closest aides, will resign, the White House said a day after she testified to congressional investigators probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Ms Hicks was named White House communications director in September, but was on Mr Trump’s staff from the beginning of his presidency. Prior to joining the Trump campaign, she had worked in public relations for the Trump Organisation.

“I wish the president and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country,” Ms Hicks said in a statement released by the White House.

She won’t leave the White House immediately, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. The New York Times reported earlier that she was resigning.

“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years,” Mr Trump said in a statement.

She is the latest of several recent high-profile departures from Trump’s White House. Another communications aide, Josh Raffel, said on Tuesday he would resign. A top technology aide, Reed Cordish, said earlier this month he would leave. Staff secretary Rob Porter resigned earlier this month after reports that he had been accused of domestic violence by two ex-wives.

Hicks testified for about nine hours in private to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Hicks told the panel that if Mr Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had gone through the same level of background checks as other Trump campaign aides, he would never have been given the campaign’s top job.

She also told the panel that she occasionally was required tell “white lies” in her job, but later clarified that did not apply to substantive matters, the official said.

Ms Hicks was involved in the reporting of a damaging book on the White House, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, which was published earlier this year. She and another senior aide, Kellyanne Conway, were the first officials to consider a pitch from the author in February last year, though they didn’t commit to officially participate in the book.

She later told other Trump aides to speak with Mr Wolff as long as they made positive comments, and some senior staff in the White House believed that Ms Hicks had authorised their cooperation with the book, according to sources familiar with the matter.

She was also romantically linked to Mr Porter before the revelations of his history with his ex-wives.