Posts tagged with "The Hill"

NATO summit becomes high-stakes test of Biden’s fitness

July 9, 2024

President Joe Biden’s fitness for office will be put to the test this week during the NATO summit he is hosting in Washington, D.C.—a high-stakes endurance test that gives the president an opportunity to push back on critics saying he is too old for a second term, reports The Hill.

But the frantic debate over Biden’s future—as he tries to contain the fallout from his alarming debate performance last month—risks overshadowing an event aimed at projecting strength against threats from Russia and China.

“Journalists attending President Biden’s summit press conference will likely not ask one question about NATO, but instead ask about the president’s political future,” said Jim Townsend, a former senior Pentagon official focused on NATO policy and a current adjunct senior fellow with the Center for New American Security.

Biden has been defiant in the wake of increasingly public calls from Democratic lawmakers to drop out of the race and widespread concern behind closed doors that the president is too frail to mount a campaign against former President Donald Trump in the November election.

“I’m running the world,” Biden said during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos—a 22-minute conversation that did little to dispel concerns over Biden’s fitness for office but did offer the president an opportunity to defend his record of leadership on the global stage.

“We are the essential nation of the world,” he said.

The NATO summit—beginning on Tuesday, July 9, and taking place over three days in Washington, D.C.—will focus on demonstrating the alliance’s enduring support for Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia, and signaling deep ties in the Indo-Pacific to counter Chinese President Xi Jinping’s designs on subsuming Taiwan.

Biden is credited with uniting allies in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022—a comprehensive effort that has so far endured through more than two years of war.

But Biden’s June 27 debate with Trump spurred panic among even ardent supporters, as the president failed to match Trump’s energy—speaking with a weak, raspy voice and trailing off on numerous answers.

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby brushed off a question Monday about whether Biden’s poor debate performance late last month would cause trouble with allies, saying it “presupposes the notion that they need to be reassured.”

“I don’t believe that’s the case,” he said. “We’re not picking up any signs of that from our allies at all.”

And Kirby sought to put the focus back on Ukraine, saying announcements throughout the summit will include new commitments for air defense support for Ukraine; deterrence capabilities to boost NATO; and investments in the defense industrial base, including domestically in the United States.

He said leaders would also reaffirm that there is a path for Ukraine to join NATO in the future.

But Biden’s presence at the podium and his interactions with world leaders are going to be under close scrutiny as his campaign seeks to convince skeptical Democrats in Congress to stand by him as they return this week from recess.

Research contact: @thehill

All eyes on Jeffries as Democrats weigh Biden’s future

July 8, 2024

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) has found himself at the center of the storm as Democrats weigh the wisdom of keeping President Joe Biden at the top of the ticket following his disastrous debate performance in Atlanta last month, reports The Hill.

Jeffries is being squeezed between two powerful but opposing forces: On one side is the predilection to rally behind his White House ally for the sake of party unity. On the other is the growing panic within his caucus that the president would be a drag on Democrats up and down the ballot—sinking the party’s chances of flipping control of the House in this year’s elections.

Only five House Democrats have come out publicly so far to urge Biden to bow out and make room for another candidate to challenge former President Donald Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee, in November. But that number is expected to grow in the days and weeks ahead—especially if polls continue to show that public confidence in Biden’s capacity to hold the office is waning in the wake of the debate.

The converging dynamics are thrusting Jeffries into a high-stakes decision, with all eyes in the House Democratic Caucus—and at the White House—waiting to see how the leader traverses the tricky path ahead.

“Hakeem is very thoughtful and very deliberate,” Representative Greg Landsman (D-Ohio), a front-line lawmaker, told The Hill. “He takes his time and that has served him well throughout this term in that he’s been able to get, with others, a deal to avoid default, a budget agreement, and the national security and global aid package.”

“These aren’t small things, and they didn’t happen without his very deliberate, thoughtful leadership,” Landsman continued. “That’s how he approaches things, it’s how he’s approaching this, which is he takes time to listen to people.”

In the aftermath of the debate, alarmed Democrats voiced private reservations about keeping Biden at the top of the ticket, but most have held their tongues publicly—a reflection of their deference to, and respect for, Jeffries as he weighs the path forward. Some said the goal of winning the presidency should outweigh any allegiances to any one person.

“Our mission is to win the White House and to prevent Donald Trump from getting there,” said one lawmaker, who spoke anonymously to discuss a delicate topic. “We have to have a family conversation, basically.”

Many factors will go into that decision—not only the fitness concerns raised by Biden’s performance, but the effects of that performance on donors, voters, and the front-line Democrats facing tough reelections in battleground districts that will decide which party controls the House next year.

“You might start having guys that are like, ‘Man, we’ve got to put some distance between us and him,’” said another Democratic lawmaker. “For the realpolitik.”

Jeffries, for his part, has kept his cards close to the vest, fueling questions about how he will handle the sensitive situation.

Jeffries has spoken directly with Biden since the debate, a source familiar with the matter told The Hill, and he held a call with House Democratic leadership last week. His office did not respond to requests for comment on Friday, July 5.

Research contact: @thehill

Supreme Court upholds access to mifepristone abortion pill in unanimous decision

June 13, 2024

On Thursday, June 13, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that a group of anti-abortion doctors does not have any legal basis to challenge access to mifepristone, one of the two common drugs used in medication abortion.

As a result, access to mifepristone won’t change, reports The Hill.

The opinion, written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, sided with the Biden Administration and Danco, the manufacturer of the branded version of mifepristone. It reversed a lower court decision that would have made it more difficult to obtain the drug, which is used in about two-thirds of U.S. abortions.

The ruling didn’t address the underlying regulatory or safety issues the plaintiffs raised, instead deciding the case only on standing. The justices found the conservative doctors in the lawsuit did not show they had personally been harmed by the government’s actions regulating mifepristone.

“Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue,” Kavanaugh wrote.

The drug will remain available to people up to the tenth week of pregnancy and will still be available through the mail. The decision is a victory for the Biden Administration’s efforts to maintain access to abortion, but it also is a victory for the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate drugs.

Leading up oral arguments, pharmaceutical companies and FDA law experts urged the court not to second-guess the agency’s expertise and side with the plaintiffs. A ruling against the administration could have undermined the entire drug approval process, they argued.

“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision in this incredibly important case. By rejecting the Fifth Circuit’s radical, unprecedented and unsupportable interpretation of who has standing to sue, the justices reaffirmed longstanding basic principles of administrative law,” said Abigail Long, a spokesperson for Danco. “The decision also safeguards access to a drug that has decades of safe and effective use.”

Still, mifepristone remains illegal in the more than a dozen states that ban abortion.

The case centered on whether federal regulators overstepped their authority by loosening restrictions to make mifepristone easier to access. The FDA first approved mifepristone in 2000 for abortion up to seven weeks of pregnancy, but then made a series of changes in 2016 and 2021.

Those changes included increasing the gestational age at which mifepristone can be used to up to ten weeks of pregnancy, allowing the medication to be mailed to patients, lowering the dosage, allowing telehealth prescribing, and permitting providers other than physicians to prescribe the drug.

The FDA has repeatedly found that mifepristone is safe and that a medication abortion regimen that includes mifepristone and a second drug, misoprostol, is a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortions.

Research contact: @thehill

Hunter Biden guilty on all three felony gun charges

June 11, 2024

On Tuesday, June 11, a jury panel of 12 Delaware found President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, guilty of three federal gun charges—marking the first criminal conviction of a sitting president’s child, reports The Hill.

Biden was convicted after roughly three hours of deliberation of three felony counts alleging he lied about his use of illicit drugs when obtaining a gun in 2018, and then unlawfully possessed the firearm for 11 days.

Hunter Biden’s trial, which lasted just over a week, spotlighted his addiction to crack cocaine at the time he checked “no” on a federal gun purchase form questioning whether he unlawfully used or was addicted to narcotics or other drugs.

Several women from Hunter Biden’s past and present—including his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle; his late brother’s widow, Hallie Biden, with whom he had a brief relationship; and an ex-girlfriend—took the stand to testify about his drug use.

Hallie Biden, who was married to Hunter Biden’s brother, Beau, before his 2015 death from brain cancer, testified that crack made Hunter Biden “agitated or high-strung, but at other times, functioning as well.”

She also described being “panicked” after discovering the firearm in question in Hunter Biden’s truck, deciding then to dump the gun outside a grocery store in Wilmington, Delaware—a choice that precipitated the case against her brother-in-law.

In the defense case, Hunter Biden’s daughter, Naomi Biden, testified that she knew her father was “struggling with addiction” months before the unlawful gun purchase but that he “still seemed good” in October, when the transaction was made. However, prosecutors showed a text she wrote to her father at the time: “I’m really sorry dad I can’t take this.”

During closing arguments on Monday, June 10, prosecutors contended that Hunter Biden’s drug use started “years before” the gun purchase and “continued for months after,” according to CNN.

“He had lost control,” prosecutor Leo Wise said.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys emphasized that no one had witnessed “actual drug use” in the month that the president’s son bought the gun, seeking to undercut testimony from the three ex-lovers who testified in the government’s case.

The defense also purported that Hunter Biden, who had just completed a stint in rehab at the time he purchased the gun, did not believe he was lying when he answered “no” to the federal gun purchase form question asking if he presently was a drug user. The president’s son did not testify.

Hunter Biden faces a maximum of 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines; however, first-time offenders are rarely given the maximum penalty. His father, the president, said recently he would not pardon his son if convicted.

In California, Hunter Biden faces separate charges for allegedly failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes and filing false returns, for which could go to trial in September.

Research contact: @thehill

Biden on Trump conviction: ‘Irresponsible’ to say trial was ‘rigged’

May 31, 2024

On Friday, May 31, President Joe Biden weighed in on former President Donald Trump’s verdict in his New York hush money case—calling Trump’s contention that the trial was “rigged” is “irresponsible” and “reckless,” reports The Hill.

“It’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” Biden said. “The justice system should be respected and we should never allow anyone to tear it down, it’s as simple as that,” he added.

Biden also added that it was in within Trump’s right to appeal the verdict.

A jury found Trump guilty on all counts of falsifying business records to conceal alleged affairs during his 2016 campaign on Thursday. Trump has since called the trial “rigged and “vowed to appeal the cause—and tore into Judge Juan Merchan and the district attorney who brought the case, Alvin Bragg (D).

Biden on Thursday evening issued a short statement on social platform X, calling for donations to the 2024 race and saying, “There’s only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box.”

His campaign called Trump a convicted felon in its first statement after the verdict and has seized on the conviction to raise money for the 2024 race.

Earlier on Friday, Biden’s reelection campaign argued that Trump’s response to his conviction should prove he “cannot be president,” following Trump’s press conference on the outcome.

Research contact: @thehill

 

Robert De Niro, January 6 officers show up for Biden campaign at Trump trial courthouse

May 27, 2024

Actor Robert De Niro and two January 6 police officers showed up on Tuesday, May 27, on behalf of the Biden campaign outside the courthouse where former President Trump’s hush money trial is taking place, reports The Hill.

In its most direct attempt to wade into Trump’s legal troubles, President Biden’s campaign held a surprise press conference in lower Manhattan in which the actor and officers Henry Dunn and Michael Fanone spoke of the dangers of a second Trump presidency.

When asked why they were holding a political event outside a criminal trial—in particular, after Trump has complained that the Biden Administration was responsible for his indictment despite it being a state case—Biden’s Communication Director Michael Tyler said “you all are here,” referring to the trials’ massive media presence.

“It’s easy to talk about the choice in this election when the entire news media is here day in and day out,” Tyler said.

At least 20 Trump supporters also were spotted in the park right next to the press conference—waving flags, wearing Make America Great Again gear, and chanting. A large flag that included the phrase “Trump or Death” was being raised near the event.

De Niro, who filmed a Biden campaign ad last week, argued against another Trump presidency to start off the press conference, bashing the former president while Trump supporters shouted and heckled him in the background in lower Manhattan.

“It’s kind of crazy, it’s really crazy. this thing. Donald Trump has created this. He should be telling them not to do this … he wants to sow total chaos, which he’s succeeding in some areas and places to do,” De Niro said.

“I don’t mean to scare you. No no, wait, maybe I do mean to scare you. If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss away these freedoms that we take for granted and elections, forget about it … he will never leave,” he added.

The Trump supporters shouted over the pJufdress conference at times, making it difficult to hear the speakers. While De Niro was speaking, protesters could be heard yelling, “De Niro is afraid” and “I haven’t seen a good movie from you in the last 20 years!”

The large group also chanted “We love Trump” and “Juan Merchan is corrupt.” Judge Juan Merchan is overseeing Trump’s hush money trial and has been repeatedly criticized by Trump and his allies.

Tyler also said that the campaign wanted to warn against Trump ahead of the first presidential debate, which is set for June.

“We want to remind the American people ahead… of the first debate on June 27 of the unique, persistent, growing threat Donald Trump poses to the American people and towards democracy,” Tyler said.

Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Dunn and Fanone, stood behind De Niro as he criticized Trump over actions both before and after his career in politics.

“I love this city, I don’t want to destroy it. Donald Trump wants to destroy not only this city but the country and eventually he will destroy the world,” De Niro said.

“We vowed that we would not allow terrorists—” he said, stopping himself.

Fanone spoke after De Niro—describing in detail the brutality that happened to him during the January 6 riots at the Capitol. Dunn then spoke, arguing that Trump “encourages” political violence.

Research contact: @thehill

Ocasio-Cortez urges Senate to launch ‘active investigations’ into Alito January 6 flag reports

May 23, 2024

On Wednesday, May 22, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called on Senate Democrats to launch “active investigations” into two separate reports that flags associated with the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol were on display outside Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s home, reports The Hill.

“What we are seeing here is an extraordinary breach of not just the trust and the stature of the Supreme Court, but we are seeing a fundamental challenge to our democracy,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview on MSNBC’s  All in with Chris Hayes on Wednesday.

Samuel Alito has identified himself with the same people who raided the Capitol on January 6 and is now going to be presiding over court cases that have deep implications over the participants of that rally,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “And while this is the threat to our democracy, Democrats have a responsibility for defending our democracy.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks come after The New York Times that a flag toted by rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was at one point displayed outside the vacation home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

An “Appeal to Heaven” flag—which has origins dating back to the Revolutionary War but is associated with Christian nationalism and “Stop the Steal” efforts today—was seen flying outside Alito’s New Jersey beach home in July and September 2023, the Times reported, around the same time that a high-profile January 6 case arrived at the Supreme Court.

The report comes just days after the Times reported that an upside-down American flag flew outside Alito’s Virginia home in January 2021—around the time when rioters stormed the Capitol just as Congress was set to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election win over former President Trump.

The upside-down flag is also associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement that emerged from false election fraud claims in 2020. Alito said his wife hung the flag during a spat with neighbors.

In the Wednesday interview, the New York progressive said that Democrats, who have a slim majority in the Senate but are in the minority in the House, should not wait until the next election to investigate Alito in the hope of winning both chambers.

Ocasio-Cortez said Senate Democrats should launch investigations immediately.

“I don’t even think that we have to wait until we have a Democratic House majority because we have a Democratic Senate majority,” she said, adding, “In the Senate, we have gavels. There should be subpoenas going out. There should be active investigations that are happening.”

While Democrats, she said, are preparing to take the House majority and launch a “broader effort to stand up” for democracy, “I also believe that, when Democrats have power, we have to use it.”

“We cannot be in perpetual campaign mode. We need to be in governance mode. We need to be in accountability mode with every lever that we have,” she continued, “because we cannot take a Senate majority for granted, a House majority for granted, or a White House for granted.”

“And every single minute matters, and we have to use our power when we have it.”

Research contact: @thehill

White House slams ‘sickening’ video shared by Trump referencing ‘unified Reich’

May 21, 2024

The White House blasted former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, May 21, after he shared a video on Truth Social that referenced a “unified Reich” if he won a second term—characterizing it “dangerous and offensive,” reports The Hill.

“It is abhorrent, sickening, and disgraceful for anyone to promote content associated with Germany’s Nazi government under Adolf Hitler,White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement.

“Any Antisemitic dog whistling is dangerous and offensive—and profoundly un-American,” Bates added.

While Bates’s statement did not reference Trump by name—Hatch Act laws prevent White House officials from weighing in on the election—the Biden campaign was more direct.

Donald Trump is not playing games; he is telling America exactly what he intends to do if he regains power: rule as a dictator over a ‘unified reich,’” Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer said in a statement.

Trump posted a video to his Truth Social page Monday night that featured hypothetical headlines about his potential victory in November, including one that referenced a “unified Reich.”

The video, which was not created by the Trump campaign, was taken down on Tuesday morning.

“This was not a campaign video, it was created by a random account online and reposted by a junior staffer who clearly did not see the word, while the President was in court,” Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

Trump has previously faced criticism for claiming Biden is running a “Gestapo administration,” referring to the secret Nazi police force. He also was widely rebuked for saying that immigrants entering the United States illegally are “poisoning the blood of our country;” and for calling his opponents “vermin,” language that echoed Hitler.

Research contact: @thehill

Stormy Daniels walks Trump trial jury through alleged sexual encounter

May 7, 2024

Former President Trump came face-to-face with adult film actress Stormy Daniels on Tuesday, October 7 when she took the stand in his hush-money case, reports The Hill.

Daniels is so far the highest-profile witness in the Manhattan district attorney’s prosecution of Trump over a $130,000 payment made to her to keep quiet about allegations of an affair with the former president.

Daniels recounted her first experience meeting Trump during a celebrity golf tournament in 2006 near Lake Tahoe. She said their first interaction, when she was introduced to him, was “very brief.” She said Trump told her she must be “smart” after he learned she also directed films.

She said his security detail asked if she would like to have dinner with Trump at the time, to which she said no. The adult film actress says she ultimately agreed to have dinner with Trump, but despite “really nice restaurants” in the hotel, Trump’s bodyguard sent instructions to take a specific elevator up to the penthouse floor. That ultimately led her to Trump’s hotel room, she testified.

“That was my only expectation, that we’d have dinner,” Daniels said.

The sexual encounter with Trump

Daniels testified that Trump’s hotel suite was three times the size of her apartment. When she walked into the foyer, she said Trump met her in silk or satin pajamas.

“I told him to go change, so he obliged, very politely,” Daniels said.

The porn actress said she and Trump then sat down at the dining room table in the suite, where Trump asked her various “get to know you” questions. He also asked about how the adult film industry worked, including a query about whether Daniels had been tested for sexually transmitted infections. Daniels responded that she had and was negative. Daniels has publicly recounted these details multiple times previously. But now, she is under oath, testifying in an historic trial.

After dinner, Daniels excused herself to powder her nose. She said that the alleged sexual encounter with Trump began after she exited the bathroom, where she said she found Trump on the bed wearing boxer shorts and a T-shirt.

She said she thought at one point, “Oh my God. What did I misread to get here?” She said the “intention was pretty clear” when someone is “stripped down to underwear, posing on the bed and waiting for you.”

She said Trump did not approach her in a “threatening manner” and that she did not have any alcohol or drugs that night.

Daniels said “yes” when asked if the sexual encounter with Trump was brief. She also testified that Trump did not wear a condom but she did not say anything about it to him.

Afterwards, the porn actor struggled in getting dressed again as she tried to depart as quickly as possible, she testified.

“He said, ‘Oh, it was great, let’s get together again honeybunch,’ and I just wanted to leave,” Daniels said.

Trump looked straight forward as Daniels described the alleged encounter, which he denies, with little visible reaction.

Another meeting

Daniels said she met Trump again while in public at a nightclub at her hotel the day following the alleged sexual encounter.

She said Trump introduced her as his “little friend Stormy,” and described the nightclub as “dark” with “loud music.” She said Trump told her he would figure out how to get her on his reality show “The Apprentice” once he returned home.

She added that Trump would call her once a week, or maybe two to three times a week, after meeting him. She said Trump always called her “honeybunch” and asked when they could get together again.

An interview

Daniels confirmed that in 2011, she sat for a ten- to 20-minute interview with In Touch Weekly, a celebrity gossip magazine, about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump. Daniels said she participated to control her narrative.

The adult film actress said she was supposed to be paid $15,000 but the story never ran. She said “not exactly, no” when asked by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger if she knew why it didn’t publish. It reportedly was killed after Michael Cohen threatened to sue.

Hoffinger also asked Daniels if she told the magazine all the details.

“No. I tried to keep it fairly lighthearted and to the point,” Daniels responded.

But that didn’t protect her: Telling a story she has recounted for years, Daniels told the jury about how a man threatened her a few weeks after she was interviewed by the magazine.

The encounter happened in a Las Vegas parking lot while she was with her daughter going to a mommy and me workout class, according to Daniels. But she did not go to the police, and there is no documentary evidence or other witnesses who have come forward to corroborate her claims.

“I thought he was the husband or something of one of the other women, and he approached me and threatened me not to continue to tell my story,” Daniels testified.

Trump’s Access Hollywood debacle

Daniels said that everything changed after the release of the Access Hollywood  tape. She then learned that Trump and his then-fixer, Michael Cohen, were interested in buying it, Daniels told jurors.

“They were interested in paying for the story, which was the best thing that could happen, ’cause my husband wouldn’t find out, but there would be a documentation,” she said.

Daniels connected the timing of her hush-money negotiations in October 2016 to that year’s upcoming presidential election, indicating she wanted it settled before the polls closed.

“I was afraid that if it wasn’t done before the nomination I wouldn’t be safe,” Daniels said, before correcting herself that she meant “the election.”

“Or he would never pay and there wouldn’t be a trail to keep me safe,” she added.

To secure a conviction on the felony charges, prosecutors must prove that Trump falsified business records with an intent to commit or conceal some other crime. Prosecutors have cited alleged campaign law violations—portraying the hush-money arrangements as an unlawful conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

Trump’s lawyers have maintained that Daniels’s testimony, while salacious, does not matter because she has no personal knowledge of the business records that correspond to Trump’s charges.

Research contact: @thehill

Nervous Hope Hicks takes the stand—and won’t even glance at Trump

May 3, 2024

Hope HicksDonald Trump’s first political PR guru and presumed holder of all his dirty secrets—testified at the former president’s New York criminal trial on Friday, May 3—and wouldn’t even throw a glance at her former boss during her first hour on the witness stand, reports The Daily Beast.

From the moment she walked into the courtroom at 11:30 a.m., the atmosphere immediately changed, the Beast notes. The 35-year-old publicist—who normally carries herself confidently and owns the room—slowly made her way into the courtroom through a side door that’s disguised as a wall panel and uneasily made her way past the red-velvet rope that separates the battle area from the public pews. She kept her head down, with her feathered blonde hair drooping over her eyes as she gripped a black purse in her left hand.

Once she sat down, Hicks barely squeaked out an introduction. “Hi, my name is Hope Charlotte Hicks, and my last name is spelled H-I-C-K-S,” she said, apologizing for being nervous.

But after a few minutes, she began to sit up straighter and speak more firmly as she began detailing the way she entered Trump’s orbit. She recalled landing a job at the Trump Organization as its communications director and how it slowly morphed into a PR role on his 2016 presidential campaign.

According to another report by The Hill, Hicks testified that she learned about ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal on November 4, 2016, via a press inquiry from The Wall Street Journal—just four days before the presidential election.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ name came up a “year prior,” in November 2015, as Trump and his security discussed a celebrity golf tournament years earlier.

She learned about both women on one of Trump’s planes en route to a campaign stop, she said.

The Hill further reported that Hicks recalled that she learned about the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape via a request for comment from The Washington Post, which had obtained the recording.

In the tape, Trump is heard bragging about grabbing women inappropriately, seemingly without consent. In the tape, Trump says: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab ’em by the p—-. You can do anything.”

Hicks said she forwarded the reporter’s email to other campaign leadership, which included an explanation of the tape, transcript and three questions asked of the campaign. The reporter also indicated that the Post planned to publish the video two hours later.

The subject of the email: “URGENT Wash Post query.”

“I was concerned,” Hicks said of her initial reaction. “I was very concerned.”

She said she forwarded the email to Trump aides Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, David Bossie, and Jason Miller.

The first time she actually saw the tape, itself, she said she was with Trump. “Was he upset?” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo asked the former Trump advisor.

“Yes,” she said with a pause. “Yeah, he was.”

She described her reaction as “just a little stunned” and said she had a “good sense” that the story would dominate the news for at least the next “several days.”

Hicks testified that Trump believed his remarks on the tape were “pretty standard stuff for two guys chatting.”

The Daily Beast added that, at the end of Trump’s term, Hicks “[was] burned by staying so close to Trump—evident by her private remarks after witnessing how Trump’s violent rhetoric and rejection of legitimate 2020 election results brought about the insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.”

As the House of Representatives committee that investigated the January 6 riot eventually uncovered, Hicks texted Ivanka Trump’s then-chief of staff, “We all look like domestic terrorists now.”

She later added, “And all of us that didn’t have jobs lined up will be perpetually unemployed.”

The Daily Beast notes that prosecutors hope to use Hicks as a witness who can add crucial details about Trump’s involvement in directing hush-money payments to former “playmate” Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

Trump is currently on trial facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records over the way he paid his consigliere Michael Cohen after the since-disgraced lawyer closed these deals.

Research contact: @thedailybeast