Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Tried to Cite 'Attorney-Client Privilege' to Avoid Questions About His Father

Tried to Cite 'Attorney-Client Privilege' to Avoid Questions About His Father

Congressional investigators discovered the existence of the post-meeting emails during Trump Jr.'s eight-hour hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. Those emails made it clear that objective of the meeting was based on the claim that the Kremlin-linked lawyer could deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton, a prospect that elicited a response from Trump Jr. that said: "Sounds great!" But the bottom line is that if what this lawyer is telling us today is true, there is absolutely no question left that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

Trump Jr. has maintained that it quickly became clear Veselnitskaya had no such information and the meeting revolved around the subject of Russian adoption.

The conversations that Trump Jr. may have had with his father after the June 2016 meeting are of interest to investigators primarily due to the fact that the younger Trump went into this meeting on the presumption that the Russian lawyer he would be meeting with had connections to the Russian government and that the goal of the meeting was to discuss potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

But as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, if Congress tolerates witnesses like Trump Jr. making up new standards for shielding conversations, it will be much harder for investigators to learn the truth about what happened in 2016, even while making it obvious that those involved have something to hide.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, one of the Republicans leading the probe, said the interview was "professional" and described Trump "cooperative at all times".

Donald Trump Jr. refused on Wednesday to provide a congressional committee details of a July telephone conversation with his father about a meeting a year ago at which Trump campaign officials had expected to receive damaging information from the Russian government about Hillary Clinton.

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That source also said Goldstone mentioned the idea at the end of the Trump Tower meeting, as everyone was leaving, though Goldstone continued to push this proposal in emails in the weeks following.

Attorney-client privilege is "a legal privilege that works to keep communications between an attorney and his or her client secret", according to Cornell Law School.

The White House acknowledged President Trump's involvement in crafting his son's misleading statement. "The attorney-client privilege only protects confidential communications between a lawyer and a client to facilitate the provision of legal services".

The California lawmaker said the details of such a discussion could reveal critical information, including efforts to "obstruct the investigation into the campaign's contact with the Russians or any other misrepresentations to the public about that meeting".

It was at least the second time Trump Jr has testified to a congressional committee investigating any Russian meddling in the election and possible collusion with Moscow by the Trump campaign. As a general rule, of course, the privilege means that conversations between a client and his or her attorney are privileged and can not be revealed in Court or in any other proceeding of a legal nature such as a Congressional investigation.

"The general rule is that a conversation is *not* privileged if a third person is present for the conversation with an attorney and a client", Mariotti said. In this case, it doesn't necessarily matter if it was attempted or if it came to fruition. On several occasions the requests made of Trump Jr. during the 10-month correspondence appear to have been complied with.

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