Last July, Hope Hicks was with Donald Trump aboard Air Force One when they created a statement in response to press inquiries about a mysterious June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., other top campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The statement said the meeting was about Russian adoptions.
Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks tells PEOPLE Hicks, who resigned as White House communications director Wednesday, could be facing criminal trouble in regards to the statement. It is a focus of special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to The New York Times.
“If [Trump] is asking her, ‘How do I cover up the fact that my son had this illegal meeting?’ and she says it is about a different subject, he discussed adoptions, that is criminal conduct,” says Wine-Banks, “and her liability for that criminal conduct, for being part of a cover-up, exists in or out of the White House, as does the president’s.”
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Hicks refused to answer most questions from Congress on Tuesday about her interactions with Trump, including the role she allegedly played in creating the statement.
Wine-Banks says that Hicks is hiding behind an improper use of executive privilege in order to not share conversations she’s had with Trump.
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“There is no executive privilege for criminal conduct,” says Wine-Banks.
“For example, with Hope Hicks being involved with drafting the false report about the June meeting, that is not protected by privilege,” she continues, “and anything the president told her in connection with that drafting to the extent he dictated to that, she will have to testify about that.”
Hicks did tell Congress Tuesday she told “white lies” on behalf of Trump, and when word got back to him about it, Trump reportedly called her “stupid.”
A day later, a tearful Hicks resigned.