“I don’t learn how to adjudicate that, competing lawyers,” Rep. Mike Conaway (best) said. He and Rep. Adam Schiff lead the House Intelligence Committee. | Alex Wong/Getty Images House lawyers split over Trump Jr. claiming attorney-client privilege to avoid questions
House Intelligence Committee lawyers are divided along partisan lines about whether Donald Trump Jr. could legitimately assert attorney-client privilege mainly because he did Wednesday to avoid describing details of a Russia-related conversation with his father, the committee’s top Republican said Thursday.
“I don’t learn how to adjudicate that, competing lawyers,” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the House’s top investigator looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, said in an interview.
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Rep. Adam Schiff, the most notable Democrat on the cleverness panel, said Wednesday that Trump Jr. refused in a closed-door interview to spell it out a conversation he had with President Donald Trump after information broke the younger Trump had fulfilled with Russia-connected contacts in Trump Tower through the 2016 presidential campaign.
The president’s son, Schiff said, claimed the privilege because there is an attorney in the area during the discussion.
Schiff said Trump Jr.’s claim was invalid, because neither the president nor Trump Jr. happen to be lawyers. But it’s unclear whether Republicans on the panel will try to pressure Trump Jr. to answer fully the question.
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“Anytime you have three lawyers, you’ll possess four views,” Conaway said. “I’ve acquired lawyers saying it’s an excellent privilege, [Schiff]’s got lawyers saying it’s not.”
Conaway said the problem would “probably” require input from the House’s general counsel, nonetheless he said he was uncertain of the procedure when committee lawyers disagree.
The White Residence backed Trump Jr.’s claim. White Residence press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that the president’s boy had a “legitimate cause” to invoke attorney-client privilege.
“We assume that his lawyers had the best cause and basis for not really answering those questions,” Sanders said at Thursday’s daily press briefing.
The meeting in question, where Trump Jr., senior adviser Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort fulfilled with a Kremlin-linked attorney, has turned into a central portion of congressional probes into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Trump Jr. at first claimed the getting together with was about the problem of adoption of Russian kids by American families. FOLLOWING THE New York Instances published email communications about the getting together with, Trump Jr. acknowledged that he had initially hoped to receive dirt from the Russians about Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton.
Conaway said he wouldn’t speculate about whether Trump Jr. will be called back again to Congress to answer questions if the committee eventually determines his claim of attorney-client privilege is invalid. And he likewise expressed frustration that Schiff got divulged the details of the problem Trump Jr. declined to answer.
“We admonish every witness that this is a confidential [hearing] … and do not speak to anyone except your attorney,” he said. “Why would we not really carry ourselves to the same regular?”