Feb 28, 2018

Hope Hicks dodges questions in Russia probe testimony

Hope Hicks arrives at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Hope Hicks, White House communications director and highly trusted member of the Trump team, testified behind closed doors for nine hours with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, but declined to answer questions about the transition and her time in the White House. However, according to the New York Times, Hicks told House investigators that she is occasionally forced to tell "white lies" from her work in the administration.

Flashback: Hicks was involved in the scramble to respond to reports of a 2016 meeting between Don Jr. and a Russian lawyer, and allegedly said details of the meeting “will never get out" — a claim her lawyer has denied. She has also been in the room for other key moments that members were anxious to ask about.

  • Rep. Danny Heck told reporters the committee "got Bannoned," per the Daily Beast, referring to Steve Bannon's restricted testimony in which he cited executive privilege. Per CNN's Manu Raju, Hicks has not yet claimed executive privilege, but is following the White House "playbook."
  • Rep. Mike Quigley told Raju that "anyone who doesn't answer questions ... ought to be subpoenaed going forward."
  • Hicks denied seeing "evidence of collusion," per Rep. Chris Stewart told FOX.
  • Rep. Tom Rooney told reporters that Hicks answered some questions about the transition, CBS' Olivia Victoria Grazis reported.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff told Grazis that Hicks was clearly given the same instruction as Bannon was: "This is not executive privilege, this is executive stonewalling."

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House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health