Former White House communications director Hope Hicks was subpoenaed by House Democrats on Tuesday.

Hicks, who worked for President Donald Trump during his campaign and the first two years of his presidency, is reportedly considering becoming the latest ex-Trump official to defy a subpoena — which is supposed to be illegal.

But the 30-year-old’s decision about whether to comply with the law is “an existential question,” according to a recent article by the New York Times.

Maggie Haberman’s piece — entitled “Hope Hicks Left the White House. Now She Must Decide Whether to Talk to Congress.” — has drawn intense scrutiny and raised questions regarding disparities in law enforcement.


“Man oh man how it helps to be rich, pretty and white,” tweeted Times contributor Wajahat Ali.

Lol. Man oh man how it helps to be rich, pretty and white. Hope Hicks is a grown ass woman who has voluntarily chosen to support this corrupt Trump Administration. And yet…

— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) May 26, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized the tone of the story and the “glamour shot” of Hicks.

What gets me is news breaks that this woman is weighing committing a crime before Congress &it’s getting framed by the NYT as some Lifetime drama called “Hope’s Choice.”

This is a fmr admin official considering participating in a coverup led by the President.

Treat her equally.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 26, 2019

“Were she not white, wealthy, and connected, we wouldn’t be having this conversation” said Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith of Haberman’s article.

There is nothing for Hope Hicks to “decide.” She got a subpoena from Congress. Were she not white, wealthy, and connected, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. She would appear, or she would face the threat of prison like the rest of us. As she should.

— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 26, 2019

At the end of a Twitter thread noting apparent inconsistencies between the Times’ article and special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Emptywheel’s Marcy Wheeler pointed out that Chelsea Manning recently returned to jail after defying a grand jury subpoena.

Anyway: Here’s a dare for @maggieNYT, since she wants to write about what happens when women defy a subpoena.

Write a similar story about @xychelsea, who is in jail for defying a subpoena.

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) May 26, 2019

The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Bruenig tweeted about the real “existential threat” to Hicks.

i think the idea of ‘existential’ is not that if she complies she will cease to exist but that if she complies she will cease to be hope hicks

— elizabeth bruenig (@ebruenig) May 26, 2019

CNN’s Julian Zelizer said the Times’ framing indicates “a very serious problem with our democracy.” When a respected paper such as @nytimes calls this an “existential” question, rather than a question about complying with the law, we have a very serious problem with our democracy. This is what it looks like to become dysfunctional. @brianstelter

— julianzelizer (@julianzelizer) May 26, 2019

The Times’ piece on Hicks — who must provide documents to the House Judiciary Committee by June 4 — doesn’t appear anywhere on Haberman’s active Twitter timeline as of publishing, and has only been promoted once by the newspaper’s primary Twitter account.

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