June 19 (UPI) -- Former White House communications director Hope Hicks refused to answer questions relating to her time in the Trump administration while testifying Wednesday before the House judiciary committee, lawmakers said.
Prior to the hearing, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said he would have a staff member there to preserve the confidentiality of Hicks' work for President Donald Trump whether it was before or after he took office.
"She has answered some and mostly she is hiding behind the facetious claim of complete immunity about anything to do with her service in the White House," said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. "The president's lawyers are directing her not to answer any questions even as we are recounting stuff she told to the special counsel. This will be the beginning of what I presume will be litigation."
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter that he was "watching obstruction of justice in action," as the Department of Justice objected to all questions about Hicks' time working in the White House.
"The administration's position is absurd and they will lose in court," Lieu wrote.
Lieu told reporters after the hearing that Hicks answered questions about her time working for Trump's 2016 election campaign, but the White House was preventing her from discussing her tenure in the administration.
"Even something as simple as 'where was your office located? 'Objection,'" he said of the questioning process. "It's ridiculous. There's no such thing known as 'absolute immunity.'"
Hicks left the White House in March 2018 and now works as a chief communications officer and executive vice president at Fox Corp., which owns Fox News.
The committee subpoenaed Hicks because she was present during several of the episodes described in special counsel Robert Mueller's report as possible attempts to obstruct justice. That includes Trump's explanation for the Trump Tower meeting that included his son, Donald Trump Jr., and Russian officials, and the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, national security adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey.
The meeting was behind closed doors but committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the transcript from the hearing will be made public.
Some Democrats, including some running for president in 2020, want to use the obstruction of justice accusations to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued against impeachment, saying it could benefit Trump because he thrives on confrontation.