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Sanders: Trump Jr. citing lawyer-client privilege legitimate
08 December 2017, 01:41 | Kara Nash
Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about discussions with father about Trump Tower meeting
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. Prior to this, of course, we had learned about the now famous meeting in Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner, and a lawyer with ties to the Russian government.
President Trump personally dictated a statement that was issued after revelations that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 election. "They stuck to their position that they were not going to share any conversations that Donald Trump Jr. had with his father about the June 9th meeting", Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., told CNN Wednesday night. Veselnitskaya said these documents appeared to be Trump Jr.'s primary interest as the meeting essentially ended when she said she didn't have the information.
According to Business Insider, Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee viewed their closed-door interview with Donald Trump Jr.to be largely unhelpful to their ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
But Trump Jr claimed attorney-client privilege in declining to respond to queries about that discussion with his father because a lawyer was in the room when it took place.
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The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn't have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump's Democratic opponent.
"If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer", Trump Jr. wrote to the intermediary, in reference to obtaining the compromising information about Clinton.
Trump Jr. said he didn't tell the president about the June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and several Russian operatives when it happened, and he declined to say what he told his father after the meeting was disclosed to the public this year. Trump Jr., according to the sources familiar with his testimony, said his communications were limited to the messages exchanged via Twitter and went no further. Since both Trumps are the subjects of an investigation, any advice from one could implicate the other. Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who previously served as chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush, told ThinkProgress that the privilege "only covers a conversation that is undertaken for the goal of getting legal advice". No defense attorney with half a brain is going to allow that.
Congressional investigators and Mueller's parallel independent investigation will be the judge of that. The court would then be called upon to consider whether or not the conversation at issue fell within the boundaries of what is covered by the privilege and, if it does, then the content of those conversations could not be compelled. In this case, it doesn't necessarily matter if it was attempted or if it came to fruition.
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