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07 December 2017, 02:25 | Opal Carroll
Donald Trump Jr. Now Claims He Spoke To Hope Hicks, And Not His Father, About His Trump Tower Meeting
Donald Trump Jr. was grilled behind closed doors in Congress Wednesday about his contacts with Russian Federation as pressure builds on his father over alleged collusion with Moscow in last year's election.
The admission by his Trump's eldest son raises the question of how closely the Trumps coordinated on their response to the bombshell revelations and could bolster the case that President Trump participated in an effort to craft a false public explanation for the Trump Tower meeting. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina has said he wanted to speak to all the other meeting participants if possible before talking to Trump Jr. In my view, there is no attorney-client privilege that protects a discussion between father and son.
The fact that Trump knew anything at all about the private contact suggests that the now-president was not totally out of the loop with respect to his campaign's coordination with Russian Federation, as he has repeatedly claimed since taking office. The White House confirmed the president was involved in drafting a response.
During eight hours of questioning by the House intelligence committee on Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged that he and his father had discussed news of his controversial 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer after the New York Times revealed the secret sitdown this summer. The statement said the Trump Tower meeting focused on "a program about the adoption of Russian children" that the Kremlin ended after the USA imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs in 2012.
Trump Jr. and the other meeting attendees have maintained that the meeting was instead focused on United States sanctions against Russian Federation, rather than dirt on Clinton.
Trump Jr.'s attorney asked "for more time to deliberate" on whether to share additional information, and Schiff said Democrats will follow up on their request for details about what the Trumps discussed.
Days after Trump's first statement on the story, Trump Jr. published an email chain showing he set up the meeting with Rob Goldstone, the publicist of Russian oligarch Emin Agalarov, after being offered help from the Russian government in the form of "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia".
The Senate intelligence committee also hopes to interview Trump Jr. before the end of the year.
But Schiff questioned whether that was a valid reason to not tell Congress about the conversations.
The Washington Post has reported that the president dictated the statement Trump Jr. released that day about the meeting. Trump Jr. also denies the charges.
Committee Democrats subsequently questioned the legitimacy of Trump Jr.'s privilege claim and raised the possibility of seeking a subpoena to compel him to answer.
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