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Hope Hicks. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former Trump legal spokesman Mark Corallo said on an ABC News podcast that Hope Hicks, who previously served as White House communications director, told him that "nobody's ever going to see" the documents about the drafting of a misleading statement on the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Context: In the original statement Trump dictated aboard Air Force One, he claimed the meeting between a Kremlin-linked lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. — first reported by the New York Times — was about Russian adoptions. Trump later revealed in a tweet that the purpose of the meeting was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, essentially admitting that his first statement misled the American people.

Why it matters: Corallo said that during his interviews with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, investigators told him: "Miss Hicks says that that didn't happen." Corallo noted that he thinks that "if you're going to charge impeachable offenses in articles of impeachment. Those are the kinds of stories that come up."

"I pointed out that the statement was inaccurate and that there were documents, that I understood ... would prove that. [Hicks] said, well nobody's ever going to see those documents. Which you know made my throat dry up immediately. ... A. that you would say something like that in the presence of the president of the United States. That you would not be aware that that could be construed as obstruction. Right? The threat to withhold documents? Like what does that mean that no one's ever going to see them? What are you gonna destroy them? She showed a complete lack of understanding of the situation and was completely in over her head."
— Mark Corallo

Other highlights from the interview:

  • On releasing the Mueller report: “I think we should see the entire report. … We all have a right to know." Corallo added that he thinks the American people have "a right to know" about the source material, too.
  • On Trump hiring his children to work for his White House: “I think it's un-American in some ways. ... I had nothing against Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. They were you know lovely people all of that. What bothers me is that we should try to be consistent. If Hillary Clinton had won the election and installed Chelsea as one of her senior advisers, every Republican in town would be screaming bloody murder, nepotism, nepotism."
  • On Trump’s awareness of the country: “I don't think he really understands America. I think that the president, like other members of his family, and a lot of people around him see America in terms of dollars and cents. We're not just an economy, we're a nation."

Go deeper

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.