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Trump Communications Director Resigns After Grilling By Russia Investigators

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (file photo)

The White House has announced that Communications Director Hope Hicks is resigning, one day after she was grilled by a congressional committee investigating connections between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

Hicks, 29, one of Trump's closest aides, spent nine hours testifying at a closed hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on February 27.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on February 28 that Hicks' decision to leave was not related to her appearance before the panel.

Lawmakers said Hicks, who was Trump's spokeswoman during the 2016 election campaign, declined to answer some of their questions.

Hicks was caught up in a controversy surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, whom she had been dating. She defended him when charges of domestic abuse against his two former wives emerged. Porter was ultimately forced to resign.

A onetime aide to Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump with no previous experience in politics, Hicks was one of the first people hired by Trump when he began his presidential campaign.

"Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person," Trump said. "I will miss having her by my side."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters