Trump Jr. told the committee that he had not informed his father about his meeting with the Russian lawyer at the time it took place.
His remarks come after Trump Jr. appeared voluntarily before the House Intelligence Committee for a grueling closed-door interview that lasted eight hours while the panel peppered the president's eldest son with questions about his Russian contacts.
He entered and exited the House Intelligence Committee hearing from a back door, avoiding the media, and nothing was immediately released about the discussions.
"If his father knew about the meeting in advance and either condoned it or encouraged it, that is something [special counsel Robert S. Mueller III] would be very interested in", said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a white collar criminal defense lawyer who has defended Clinton officials and is now at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP.
Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump Jr. set for high-stakes interview with House intel panel Comey back in the spotlight after Flynn makes a dealSchiff: Flynn plea "very significant"MORE (D-Calif.) is challenging Trump Jr.'s reasoning, saying Trump Jr. can not apply attorney-client privilege and "shield" lawmakers from this conversation between father and son just because an attorney was present in the room. Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump himself, Kellyanne Conway, all of them have insisted that he, Trump Jr., did not meet with these people to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, but that is not one, what his own email said, and two, what the actual person that he met with had to say.
But Republicans on the committee told reporters they weren't troubled by Trump Jr.'s refusal to answer questions. Trump Jr. said he did not recall the exchanges, CNN reported, citing several unnamed sources. 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 an email, Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe said he also found Trump Jr.'s invocation of attorney-client privilege to be "ridiculous". 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". 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. No defense attorney with half a brain is going to allow that. If, on the other hand, there were any non-represented parties present for all or part of this conversation then at least that portion of the conversation would not be protected by privilege and could not be revealed or compelled.
Congressional investigators and Mueller's parallel independent investigation will be the judge of that. "Counsel made a claim of attorney-client privilege".
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