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

Image Donald Trump standing with his son Donald Trump Jr

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 initial statement released by Team Trump about the meeting - which also included Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort - said that the discussion centered on U.S. sanctions on Russia that it responded to by canceling USA adoptions of Russian children. 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. Though that statement claimed the meeting was "primarily" about "a program about the adoption of Russian children", additional reporting prompted Trump Jr.to release emails indicating he was eager to meet with the lawyer because he wanted the compromising Clinton information.

The meeting is of keen interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and several Senate and House committees that are investigating whether the Trump campaign worked with Russian Federation to interfere in the 2016 election. Goldstone has said he puffed up the language of the original email invitation, the contents of which were dictated to him by Agalarov-whose father is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump Jr was grilled behind closed doors in Congress on Thursday about his contacts with Russian Federation as pressure builds on his father over alleged collusion with Moscow in last year's election.


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. and the other meeting attendees have maintained that the meeting was instead focused on USA sanctions against Russian Federation, rather than dirt on Clinton. Trump Jr. said he did not recall the exchanges, CNN reported, citing several unnamed sources.

But Veselnitskaya said she hadn't offered anything like that and had only met to discuss the US Magnitsky Act used to place sanctions on high-level Russians. 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". The congressman said that Mr. Trump's lawyer, Alan S. Futerfas, asked the committee for more time to answer questions about that conversation because both he and a lawyer for the president were privy to it. Since both Trumps are the subjects of an investigation, any advice from one could implicate the other. 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. In this case, it doesn't necessarily matter if it was attempted or if it came to fruition.

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