WASHINGTON — Hope Hicks told the House Intelligence Committee last week that one of her email accounts was hacked, according to people who were present for the former White House communications director’s testimony in the panel’s Russia probe.
Under relatively routine questioning from Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., about her correspondence, Hicks indicated that she could no longer access two accounts: One she used as a member of President Donald Trump’s campaign team and a personal account, according to four people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the closed meeting of the Intelligence Committee was supposed to remain private.
Hicks, who portrayed herself as not savvy in matters of technology, told lawmakers that one of the accounts was hacked, according to two sources who were in the room. It is unclear if Hicks was referring to a campaign or personal account.
Her assertion of a hack raises the questions of who might have compromised her account, when, why and what information could have been obtained. But there was no indication from any of the sources that those questions were pursued by the committee, which had limited leverage over Hicks because she was appearing voluntarily and not under a subpoena for her testimony or records.
It is standard practice for lawmakers to ask witnesses about phone numbers and email accounts. But it is uncommon, according to people familiar with the committee process, for a witness to tell lawmakers that he or she no longer has access to past accounts.
Hicks’ correspondence — and that of others who worked on the Trump campaign — has been a subject of interest for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is running a probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as possible obstruction of justice by Trump associates. Mueller recently sent a subpoena to former Trump aide Sam Nunberg ordering Nunberg to turn over documents relating in any way to 10 current and former Trump associates, including Hicks.
Hicks is a key player in the Trump orbit, as one of his earliest campaign aides and until last week a senior White House official who sat just outside the Oval Office.
Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski is scheduled to appear before the committee on Thursday.