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.
Though neither Trump Jr. nor the president is an attorney, Trump Jr. told the House Intelligence Committee that there was a lawyer in the room during the discussion, according to the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California. Schiff said he didn’t think it was a legitimate invocation of attorney-client privilege.
“I don’t believe you can shield communications between individuals merely by having an attorney present,” he said, after the committee’s lengthy interview with Trump Jr. “That’s not the purpose of attorney-client privilege.”
Trump Jr.’s meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower — and the president’s response after it became public earlier this year through a New York Times story — has become a central focus of investigators probing whether any Trump associates cooperated with Russian efforts to interfere in the presidential election.
Though Trump Jr. initially portrayed the meeting as “short,” “introductory” and focused on the issue of adoption, it was later revealed that there were eight participants — including the senior Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort — and that Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting with a promise that he would receive negative information about Hillary Clinton provided by the Kremlin.
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