According to Business Insider, Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee viewed their closed-door interview with Donald Trump Jr.to be largely unhelpful to their ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
But as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, if Congress tolerates witnesses like Trump Jr. making up new standards for shielding conversations, it will be much harder for investigators to learn the truth about what happened in 2016, even while making it obvious that those involved have something to hide.
Testifying in a closed session before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Trump claimed that his conversation over the summer with his father, two days after The New York Timesdisclosed the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, was protected under attorney-client privilege because lawyers for both men were on the call.
Schiff said that while Trump Jr. admitted speaking to his father about his response to reports on the meeting, he "refused to answer questions about that meeting on the basis a claim of attorney client privilege".
The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn't have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump's Democratic opponent.
But according to CNN, the Veselnitskaya meeting, and how the White House tried to explain it away as a discussion about United States adoption of Russian orphans, was one focus of the questioning.
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The eldest first son said President Trump was only debating whether they should release a longer or a shorter statement, the network said.
Trump Jr. has never explicitly said whether the president knew about a June campaign meeting he held at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
But Veselnitskaya said she hadn't offered anything like that and had only met to discuss the US Magnitsky Act used to place sanctions on high-level Russians. Trump Jr. took the meeting, his own emails show, because he was promised "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.
That's the perspective of a high-ranking Democrat on that committee. In my view, this is a central communication about a very pivotal meeting and a conversation between father and son is not subject to the attorney-client privilege. None of the emails were sent directly to the president's son, and were sent between British publicist Rob Goldstone and then-campaign aide Dan Scavino, who is now the White House's social media director and assistant to President Donald Trump. "He acknowledged discussing that meeting with his father".
However, Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the committee's Russian Federation investigation, did not express the same concerns as Schiff about Trump Jr.'s response. A Republican source added Trump Jr. was asked about some Trump Organization business going back decades and at times based on old news reports about his father.
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For now, I'm going to include the possibility of a few rain showers locally, with a few snow showers possible north of our area. High temperatures on Monday and Tuesday will be above average for this time of the year.
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