US House Democrats finally had the chance to question a former member of President Donald Trump's inner circle about the findings of special counsel Robert S Mueller III's report.
They didn't get much.
Hope Hicks, acting under the direction of the White House, declined to answer questions in the closed-door hearing about her tenure as Trump's communications director, according to members of the House Judiciary Committee.
"She's refusing to testify on areas of interest including whether the president and his campaign worked with the Russians and whether he sought to cover that up," Californian Democrat Eric Swalwell said on Wednesday.
Hicks' refusal was not a surprise.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to New York Democrat and committee chairman Jerrold Nadler on Tuesday to say that Trump had directed Hicks not to answer questions "relating to the time of her service as a senior adviser to the president".
Although Hicks is no longer in government, she said she would honour the president's request, sparking complaints by Democrats on the panel.
"The White House has asserted a bizarre idea that anybody who worked for the White House can be prevented from talking to Congress on no basis whatsoever," Californian Democrat Zoe said.
Trump went on Twitter to denounce what he called a "rigged House committee," repeating his charge that he was a victim of partisan investigations.
"So sad that the Democrats are putting wonderful Hope Hicks through hell, for 3 years now, after total exoneration by Robert Mueller & the Mueller Report," he tweeted. "They were unhappy with result so they want a Do Over. Very unfair & costly to her. Will it ever end?"
During his investigation, Mueller questioned Hicks about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between three top Trump campaign aides and a Kremlin-backed Russian lawyer who had offered to provide derogatory information on Hillary Clinton.
When reporters asked about the meeting in July 2017, Trump directed Hicks to help issue a statement that falsely said the attendees primarily discussed a Russian ban on US citizens adopting Russian children.
Democrats asked Hicks about the incident at Wednesday's hearing, but she declined to answer. The committee plans to release a transcript by Friday.
Nadler vowed legal action to compel her testimony. House Democrats have gone to court several times this year, and won at least two rulings in their favour.
Australian Associated Press