"There is no attorney client privilege that protects discussion between father and son", Schiff noted. Because yesterday Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer that Donald Trump Jr. met with in June of 2016, testified in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Donald Trump Jr. met with her with the explicit intent of getting dirt from her on 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.
Trump Jr.'s refusal to answer questions about his conversation with his father "have given Mueller a clearer signal that the answer is incriminating", wrote former Department of Justice Director of Public Affairs Matthew Miller on Twitter Wednesday. In the meantime, Schiff said, the lawyers have asked for more time to decide how to handle the claim. It was then that Trump Jr., per the sources, said Clinton's testimony was not the same: she was testifying about the 2012 attack in Benghazi where four Americans were killed.
This particular discussion revolves around a pivotal meeting, that is where representatives of the Russian government who were portrayed as providing dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government effort to help Donald Trump to the campaign, and therefore is a central issue that we need to fully investigate. 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.
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In one email dated June 14, 2016, Goldstone forwarded a CNN story on Russia's hacking of DNC emails to his client, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, and Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who attended the meeting along with Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Manafort, describing the news as "eerily weird" given what they had discussed at Trump Tower five days earlier.
The question of whether or not the attorney-client privilege applies to a given situation is often a complicated one, but it is also usually a question that courts end up deciding in favor of maintaining the privilege.
As Schiff noted in his statement, it is critical to know exactly what Donald Trump knows about his son's secret meeting with the Russians during the campaign, and what they talked about after it took place. If none of the parties are attorneys then there is obviously no privilege.
CNN reported that Trump Jr., in his testimony, said he did not directly speak with his father about his initial, misleading statement about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with Veselnitskaya. Additionally, a conversation that includes a party and his attorney along with a third party that the attorney does not represent would generally not be considered privileged. On several occasions the requests made of Trump Jr. during the 10-month correspondence appear to have been complied with. In this case, it doesn't necessarily matter if it was attempted or if it came to fruition.