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Sanders: Trump Jr. citing lawyer-client privilege legitimate

Sanders: Trump Jr. citing lawyer-client privilege legitimate

Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday cited attorney-client privilege to avoid telling lawmakers about a conversation he had with his father, President Donald Trump, after news broke this summer that the younger Trump - and top campaign brass - had met with Russia-connected individuals in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.

The admission by his Trump's eldest son raises the question of how closely the Trumps coordinated on their response to the bombshell revelations and could bolster the case that President Trump participated in an effort to craft a false public explanation for the Trump Tower meeting.

Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, attended the meeting with several Russians under the impression that they might receive damaging information about Trump's rival, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He has said that no damaging information was delivered.

"The only category of question the he declined to answer were, with respect to any discussion with his father about the June 9th meeting, after the emails had been disclosed publicly", Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told ABC News's Pierre Thomas after the interview. 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.

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said on Twitter that he doubted any court would conclude Trump Jr.'s conversation with his father was protected.

Trump Jr., like his father, denies collusion with Russian Federation. Trump Jr. took the meeting, his own emails show, because he was promised "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

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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. Ultimately he settled on: He took the meeting to receive "very high level and sensitive information" that was "part of Russian Federation and its government's support for Mr. Trump". And, if so, what did he know about its objective prior to the time it occurred and what actually happened at that meeting? The official line from the Trump Administration since day one has been that that meeting was just about adoption. 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.

"In my view, there is no attorney-client privilege that protects a discussion between father and son", Schiff said. "That's not the objective of attorney-client privilege".

"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. 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. "Who was he representing and what was the goal of this conversation?..."

Some of Trump's fellow Republicans criticized Mueller, the FBI and the Department of Justice at a news conference on Wednesday, ahead of congressional testimony on Thursday by the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray. 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.

Other lawmakers, Republicans as well as Democrats, say the goal of their investigation is to guarantee the integrity of US elections, not to target Trump and his associates.


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