Trump's top communications aide and trusted adviser resigns

WASHINGTON One of US President Donald Trump's longest-serving and most trusted aides, Ms Hope Hicks, is resigning from her job as White House communications director.

The White House announced she was leaving a day after she spent nine hours in a closed hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said Ms Hicks' decision to leave was not related to her appearance before the panel.

Lawmakers said Ms Hicks, 29, who was Mr Trump's spokesman during the election campaign, declined to answer questions about the administration but she did answer every question asked about her time with the campaign, and the transition months between the November election and the January 2017 inauguration.

Her exact departure date is unclear but is expected to be sometime over the next few weeks.

Ms Hicks was caught up in a controversy surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, whom she had been dating.

She worked to defend him when accusations of domestic abuse by his two former wives emerged. Mr Porter was ultimately forced to resign. A one-time aide to Mr Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and with no previous experience in politics, Ms Hicks was one of the first people hired by Mr Trump when he began his campaign for the presidency.

Aides said she had approached the president and told him she wanted to leave so she could start exploring opportunities outside of the White House.- REUTERS