Late on Wednesday, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Donald Trump Junior that the president’s son refused to answer any of the Committee’s most important questions.
In June of 2016, Trump Junior attended a meeting at Trump Tower with Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, a few more emissaries of the Trump campaign, and a Kremlin-connected lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. The meeting has been the subject of a major probe in the Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation, as it is known — but still not admitted by Team Trump — that the campaign attempted to trade favors with Russia for assistance in electing Donald Trump.
Once the emails that were used to set up that meeting became public, Junior admitted that the meeting had taken place, and that he had spoken to his father about the meeting and about the emails which were made public.
It was questions about that conversation — between Donald and Donald Junior — that the younger Trump refused to answer. As an excuse, Junior cited “attorney-client privilege,” simply because Veselnitskaya was in the room. Apparently, nobody has ever told Junior that you only get to claim that between you and your lawyer, not you and a lawyer, let alone you and your father.
Rep. Schiff told the assembled press,
He acknowledged discussing that matter with his father but refused to answer questions about that discussion along the basis of an attorney-client privilege. In my view there is no attorney-client privilege that protects a discussion between father and son.”
That discussion, however, could shed light on what decisions went into the statement Trump Junior made about the meeting with Veselnitskaya that misled investigators into believing that only the subject of adoption had come up during the exchange. Some outlets reported that the president himself had dictated Trump Junior’s statement following the disclosure of the meeting, although in testimony on Wednesday, Junior said it was the president’s aide, Hope Hicks, that he spoke to while crafting his statement.
Ms. Hicks then spoke to Trump before the statement was delivered, according to Junior’s sworn statement to the House Intelligence Committee.
What’s more, Republicans on the Committee refused to press Trump Junior to answer questions that he didn’t want to answer.
They apparently have no interest in protecting American democracy.