Trump, Trump Jr., And The Attorney-Client Privilege

Trump Jr. says he communicated with Hope Hicks, not his father, about Trump Tower response

Trump Jr. says he communicated with Hope Hicks, not his father, about Trump Tower response

"The presence of counsel does not make communications between father and son a privilege", he said.

There was one significant area, though, where [Trump Jr.] declined to answer.

In an absolutely weird turn of events, Donald Trump, Jr.

Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating. The sources said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had sat for 11 hours when she was questioned by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., as part of the Benghazi investigation and they were nowhere near that point. This contradicts everything the Trump administration has said about the meeting, and creates a world of legal problems for Don Jr., as Ring of Fire's Farron Cousins explains.

During voluntary closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. cited "attorney-client privilege" to avoid answering questions about a critical discussion he had with his father this past summer following explosive New York Times reporting about the Trump campaign's efforts to collude with Russian Federation.

The initial statement in July 2017 gave a misleading impression of the meeting, which later turned out was billed to Trump Jr.as a way to get dirt on the Clintons. Initially, of course, the Trump White House and Trump Jr. claimed that the meeting was about the sanctions imposed by the so-called Magnisky Act and the issue of the adoption of Russian babies by American citizens, which was in limbo in wake of the sanctions imposed after Russia's annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine. Trump Jr. has for months contended that after being promised he would get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the brief meeting focused nearly exclusively on the issue of Russian adoptions, saying there was no discussion with the participants after that session.

Trump Jr. acknowledged to House investigators Wednesday that he spoke with Hope Hicks - and not his father - when first confronted with news reports about the Trump Tower meeting, saying they exchanged text messages, sources said. Trump Jr. has said he did not follow up on the meeting.

Given all of this, the conversations that Trump Jr. may have had with his father both before and after this meeting are relevant to the Russia investigation because they go to the question of what Trump may have known about efforts by high-ranking officials in his campaign about contact with Russian officials and when he may have known it. And some legal experts say the White House's involvement could be problematic since there was ongoing criminal probe into Russian meddling. He acknowledged discussing that matter with his father, but refused to answer questions about that discussion on the basis of attorney-client privilege.

In an email, Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe said he also found Trump Jr.'s invocation of attorney-client privilege to be "ridiculous". Trump Jr. claims that at the time, President Trump was debating between a longer and a shorter statement while Trump and Hicks were aboard Air Force One. If, on the other hand, there were any non-represented parties present for all or part of this conversation then at least that portion of the conversation would not be protected by privilege and could not be revealed or compelled. On several occasions the requests made of Trump Jr. during the 10-month correspondence appear to have been complied with.

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