Donald Trump Jr. is in trouble because his “attorney-client privilege” excuse isn’t fooling anyone who actually knows the law.
During his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee to answer questions about his meeting with Russians at Trump Tower in July 2016, Trump Jr. invoked “attorney-client privilege” to refuse to tell lawmakers what he discussed with his father about it.
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The problem is that “attorney-client privilege” doesn’t really apply.
According to NYU law professor Stephen Gillers:
“A lawyer in the room is insufficient to privilege the conversation between the Trumps unless the lawyer was there representing BOTH of them on the subject of the conversation. If the lawyer is representing only one of them, there is no privilege because the presence of the unrepresented person means the conversation is not confidential.”
The only exception to this rule if the other person in the room has an attorney who is not there but has a common interest agreement. In other words, Trump would have to claim that his lawyer and Trump Jr.’s lawyer have such an agreement. But we don’t even know the name of the lawyer who was supposedly in the room with them.
Trump Jr.’s claim of attorney-client privilege particularly amused former federal prosecutor John Flannery, who told CNN that this makes the investigation easier for special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
First, Flannery slammed the idea that attorney-client privilege applies here. Flannery said:
“It’s not electricity, like if you have an attorney in the room it’s enough. They were talking about disclosing information, and if you are having a discussion to disclose information, it is not privileged. On top of that, if you are using the privilege to conceal fraud then the privilege takes flight. I think it was just a delay to avoid talking about it today.”
Flannery then went on to talk about how bad the Trumps are at being crooks.
“What’s going on is to conceal the fact of the meeting with the Russians they kept saying never happened. So their first imperative, certainly Mr. Trump and Trump Jr., was to say, nothing. Say, ‘It is about an adoption’ when it had nothing to do with it. They knew when they proposed it. We are just lucky these people are bad at this. Otherwise, I used to say as a prosecutor on a white collar case, ‘You don’t catch the geniuses.’ These guys aren’t geniuses. This is the worst cover-up I have seen. I’m glad for it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a chance of getting at their misconduct, and their misconduct was to conceal the deal with the Russians and all the conversations they had with them.”
Here’s the video via YouTube:
Donald Trump and his son are clearly trying to cover-up their crimes by invoking attorney-client privilege. If they have nothing to hide, why refuse to talk about what they discussed?
The answer is that Trump Jr. would have to lie and that means he would perjure himself. Make no mistake, the Trumps can try to hide anything they want, but Robert Mueller is coming for them, and it will be a joyous day when both of them get a pair of shiny new cuffs.
Featured Image Via YouTube Video.