CNN Panel Slams House Democrats for 'Offensive' Treatment of Hope Hicks

Rep. Nadler addressed Hicks by the wrong name three times

June 21, 2019

A CNN panel criticized Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) and House Democrats on Friday for their behavior during a closed-door House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier in the week with former White House communications director Hope Hicks.

A 273-page transcript of the private hearing was released on Thursday night, revealing that committee chairman Nadler addressed Hicks by the last name of President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, three times. Nadler is likely to have called Hicks, "Ms. Lewandowski" because of a rumor she had an affair with Lewandowski, who is married with four children, during the 2016 campaign.

CNN's John King mentioned how Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said the House's Democratic majority would use their power to conduct investigations that were "serious, credible, and prepared." He then read the transcript of Hicks's lawyer calling on Nadler to ask everyone in the room to refrain from taking pictures of Hicks, adding he believed Hicks was feeling "uncomfortable."

"Why are congresspeople taking pictures of a witness? If you're having a serious, prepared, thorough investigation, what is that all about?" King said. "For the conversation, Nadler himself, who called off the picture-taking there, repeatedly referred to her as Ms. Lewandowski. Corey Lewandowski was the campaign manager."

"He fought to get her testimony. He knows her name is Hope Hicks. At one point she said, 'My name is Ms. Hicks, Mr. chairman.' If you're going to make the case to the American people that you're conducting  serious, credible, investigations and you're prepared, why be amateur and offensive?"

CNN's White House correspondent Abby Phillip said Nadler's comment "undermines" their case, adding the picture-taking was "clearly unprofessional."

"On the Lewandowski thing, there is a big debate about whether it was intentional, a slip of the tongue, whatever. Either way, any woman being called something other than their name, being called 'Ms. some other man's name,' it's offensive. Hope Hicks would be right to be a little shaken by that and I think it's an unforced error on Nadler's part," Phillip said. "He probably at this point ought to apologize to her because now that it's out there it's becoming a source of criticism among Hicks's defenders who say, 'This is proof Democrats aren't being serious, that they won't even be  respectful to a woman in this context. I don't know what was in his mind, but he should probably explain it to people at this point."

King went on to castigate Nadler for his treatment of Hicks, noting that he was chairman of the committee and should not have been "preoccupied" during the hearing, a reference to Nadler's excuse for why he called Hicks by the wrong name.

"It undermines their case, I think, not to show her respect, because she is important," Washington Post reporter Matt Viser said. "She was one of the closest people to President Trump during crucial periods of time and to call her names that are not her name or not afford her the respect by calling her 'Ms. Hicks,' then I think that undermines their whole case that she's important and deserves respect."

CNN's Manu Raju spoke with Nadler Friday afternoon about his Lewandowski comment, and he claimed he "just screwed it up." He said he had "two different counsels" who were "whispering" in his ear while he about to question her and said he just called her by the wrong name, saying Lewandowski was one of the topics he would be discussing.

"That's what I was thinking about, and I screwed it up," Nadler said. "I meant nothing by it."