Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted his emails about meeting with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, in response to shocking New York Times reports. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

'That's Not How It Works': Experts Call Out Don Jr's Bogus Claim of Attorney-Client Privilege

When Trump Jr. wasn't illegitimately invoking attorney-client privilege, he appeared to be hampered by what one lawmaker called a "very serious case of amnesia"

Jake Johnson

Donald Trump Jr. was interviewed by the members of the House Intelligence Commitee behind closed doors on Wednesday as part of their Russia probe, but they couldn't get much out of him, due in part to what critics slammed as his "bogus" assertion of attorney-client privilege.

"I don't believe you can shield communications between individuals merely by having an attorney present That's not the purpose of attorney-client privilege."
—Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)

The "privilege" was invoked when lawmakers probed a meeting Trump Jr. held at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer in June of 2016 after being promised "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. When asked about a conversation he had with President Donald Trump about the meeting this past summer, Trump Jr. claimed that, because a lawyer was present during their phone call, he did not have to divulge the details.

As legal experts, journalists, and House Democrats were quick to point out, "That's not how it works."

"I don't believe you can shield communications between individuals merely by having an attorney present," argued Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). "That's not the purpose of attorney-client privilege."

Schiff added that "discussion revolves around a pivotal meeting" and is "a central issue that we need to fully investigate."

"We will be following up with his counsel," Schiff concluded.

When Trump Jr. wasn't attempting to dodge questions by invoking non-existent privileges, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said he was "pretty non-responsive" and appeared to be hampered by "a very serious case of amnesia," claiming to not recall events that took place in the very recent past.

"He was by his father's side; he was campaigning with his father. And you get the impression in listening to him that he didn’t spend much time talking to his father," Speier added. "Lots of people don’t recall things. But, I would say that there are elements of this where he was very clear and knew precisely what had happened, and then other circumstances he didn't at all."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Poll: Overwhelming Majority of US Voters Want Robust Regulation of Tech Companies

"When it comes to Big Tech's monopoly power and surveillance business model, the public is unified: They want action. They want to see the Big Tech companies broken up and users' privacy protected."

Brett Wilkins ·

228 Republicans Blasted for Brief Urging Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

"Every single politician who signed this amicus brief is actively working to strip away our fundamental freedoms and endanger pregnant people and families across the country."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Historic Victory': Bayer to End US Residential Sales of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides

"As agricultural, large-scale use of this toxic pesticide continues, our farmworkers remain at risk. It's time for EPA to act and ban glyphosate for all uses."

Kenny Stancil ·

73 Major Corporations Paid Just 5.3% Federal Tax Rate Between 2018 and 2020: Report

Thirty-nine other companies paid no federal corporate tax during the three-year period, in which they collectively reaped over $120 billion in profits.

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Asks Congress to Act to Prevent Evictions—Just 3 Days Before Moratorium Expires

"These calls should have come weeks ago, not 72 hours before the moratorium expires."

Jake Johnson ·