Trump's top communications aide and trusted adviser resigns

Saturday, 03 Mar, 2018

In this case it was an important confidante, the mysterious former fashion model Hope Hicks. She is now stepping down.

Though her leaving was not anticipated, no departures from this White House should strike anyone as surprising. The firings, the resignations. Outside of his immediate family, Trump trusted no one more and listened to no one more than Hicks.

Apparently a small cabal within the White House was pushing Trump to announce new tariffs on steel and aluminum today, but kept it a secret from everyone else. Between the relentless chaos of the West Wing and the looming Mueller investigation, even the most committed staffers are re-evaluating their options. She told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that she's told "white lies", but not on anything "substantive" for Trump.

"New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who broke the story, said: "[Hicks] told colleagues that she had accomplished what she felt she could with a job that made her one of the most powerful people in Washington, and that there would never be a ideal moment to leave". The distinction is potentially serious because of questions about the role Hicks might have played in creating the statement explaining Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.

Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, dodged on Thursday when asked if he was responsible for recent leaks. She has been tethered to his side from the nascent days of his campaign, and while her official duties include managing the president's often tumultuous relationship in the press, fellow aides described her as a consigliere, attuned to his whims and moods.

The president declares the USA will impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, escalating tensions with China and other trading partners. Get up here, hope. She's challenged by her job. Trump TV or state run TV, they're not even reporting this.

"Things are still pretty bleak inside the White House", the source said.

Trump paid tribute to Hicks' "outstanding" contribution over the past three years, calling her "as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person".

"She will be sorely missed". Announcing her decision right after the committee hearing made it appear that there was a link. Hicks was known to have been romantically involved with Porter and "deeply involved" in crafting Chief of Staff John Kelly's initial defense of Porter, CNN said.

Unlike previous White House communications directors, who generally came to the job with broad experience in setting strategy, Hicks, 29, relied mostly on her close connection and loyalty to the president.

Hicks, who at the time was dating Porter, did not recuse herself from the matter. So, let's get to Cecilia Vega, live at the white house tonight. The report included an allegation that the department paid more than $4,000 for Shulkin's wife, Merle Bari, to travel to Europe with her husband. "She's going to be very open to anything the president wants her to do".

As part of the ongoing probe into whether there was collusion between Russian officials and the 2016 Trump campaign team, he also pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a meeting with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak just ahead of Mr Trump's inauguration.

If his approach has been helter-skelter to date, there is little likelihood given the departure of Ms. Hicks and others that change will be forthcoming.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.