Adam Schiff: Junior Invoked Attorney-Client Privilege To Evade Committee Questions On Russia [VIDEO]

Talking Points Memo reports:

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Wednesday evening that Donald Trump Jr. cited attorney-client privilege to avoid answering the committee’s questions about a discussion he had with President Donald Trump about his June 2016 meeting with Kremlin-linked officials.

After the committee completed its interview with Trump Jr., Schiff briefly spoke with reporters and revealed that Trump Jr. acknowledged that he discussed the June 2016 meeting, as well as the emails leading up to the meeting, with his father. Schiff said that the conversation “ostensibly” took place after the emails became public but would not reveal more about the timeline.

Trump Jr. told committee members that lawyers were present for his conversation with the President and argued that this shields him from having to detail the discussion with the committee, per Schiff. Schiff disagreed, however.

If several thousand hours of Law & Order reruns have taught me anything, it’s that the presence of third parties voids attorney-client privilege.

  • Karl Dubhe 2

    Was he trying to claim that he’s his father’s lawyer or something?

    They should have spanked his dumb ass for that. Why didn’t they?


    • clay

      He was trying to claim that his father’s lawyer was in the room.

      • Karl Dubhe 2

        They should have charged him with contempt of congress and locked his little butt up for that idiocy. 🙂

  • leastyebejudged

    If your legal expertise is from watching Law and Order, no wonder this country is so fucked.

    • DaddyRay

      I wonder how many Crime show writers are adding this into their scripts to show how that plays out in the real world

      • Tawreos

        This type of thing would never have been added to these shows earlier because they are to unbelievable to be real. After Trump and company are done dumbing down America the next Law and Order will be Playground Unit.

        • DaddyRay

          Oh Playground, Roy Moore may start watching

          • Tawreos

            And the entire GOP, since they have excused such behavior

    • Yes, much of what we muggles know about the law is from tv shows. So is what Joe says wrong? If not, what the fuck is your point?

    • 2patricius2

      I think those were Joe’s words, not the words of Adam Schiff.

  • TimCA

    And the Republican majority on the committee will let this bogus assertion stand unchallenged. Just outrageous!

    • j.martindale

      No, the next step is to take these defenses in front of a judge.

      • TimCA

        Because the Republican majority will accept Trump Jr’s baseless claim unchallenged and refuse to require Trump, Jr to answer the questions.

  • lymis

    Doesn’t attorney-client privilege require that you are actually the client’s attorney?

    • j.martindale

      Not exactly. This issue arises when an attorney directs his client not to reveal information discussed with his or her attorney. When given that direction, the client can claim that the information requested by the question is protected by the attorney-client privilege. But as has been pointed out elsewhere, this protection is compromised if there is another non-party present.

      • clay

        . . . and in this particular case, Donny never follows his lawyers instructions, any way.

  • olandp

    He is not an attorney, there can be no attorney-client privilege if he isn’t an attorney. He needs to plead the fifth.

  • Treant

    And they happily let him get away with it because IOKIYAR.

    • Charlie 2001

      Well, Robert Mueller will not allow this. And now he knows this conversation took place.

      Off-topic: On most JMG posts I can no longer read the comments. I am surprised I can read this one.

  • Michael R

    ” I refuse to answer the question on the grounds that it would
    incriminate daddy , who is guilty as fuck “

    • -M-
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  • incredulous

    Nope. Attorney client privilege keeps the attorney from speaking. The client is not bound by this privilege.

    DJ is claiming his 5th Amendment right to remain silent, but he clearly doesn’t want to say that, because his daddy said the 5th Amt is for guilty folks.

    • j.martindale

      You misunderstand. This is a a defense that the attorney directs his client to use. And, no, it does not keep the attorney from speaking. see below

    • clay

      If Don’s lawyer let Jr. hear it, it wasn’t privileged conversation.

    • Steven H

      Privilege applies for both parties, at least in federal courts.

      • June Gordon

        I sucked off enuf lawyers to know that the client can waive it.

  • DaddyRay

    Will Donald Trump Sr get father of the year award next year when his children start going to jail for him


    Junior invoked Daddy / Dependent privilege. Doubtful however that Daddy will protect him when the criminal charges start.

  • The real question is: why are they letting him get away with this? As others have pointed out below, Jr isn’t an attorney and therefore cannot invoke attorney-client privilege. So why is his own attorney sitting right there letting him do this and why is the committee, most of whom are lawyers, allowing this?

    • Treant

      Republicans shielding Republicans.

      If Hillary (who’s actually a lawyer) tried this, they’d tear her apart.

    • j.martindale

      No, his attorney is directing him to use the attorney-client privacy defense to protect him from having to answer the question.

    • SkokieGuy [ChicagoAdjacentGuy]

      THIS! And to the various reporters who interviewed Schiff, the obvious questions is: Since attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply, why did the committee accept his refusal?

      How it should have worked, Committee: “Mr. Trump, that privilege does not apply to conversations between you and your father. Your options are to answer the question or apply your 5th amendment rights. Any other response will put you at risk of Contempt of Congress charges.”

      • canoebum

        It was up to the Chairman of the committee, a Republican, to enforce that. He just let it go. Of course.

        • SkokieGuy [ChicagoAdjacentGuy]

          I understand enforcing it, but couldn’t a Dem have re-asked the question by prefacing it with stating he is not entitled to claim that privilege?

  • Blake Mason

    OT… They are rolling back the court decision on gay marriage in Bermuda…

    MPs given conscience vote on civil unions

    • jruffdc

      Fuck Bermuda. So glad I vetted that place as a destination before planning to go there. traveler web site had nothing good to say about it as a gay destination. So, we went to the USVI instead. So much better.

      • Blake Mason

        I am sad to hear that… but understand completely. I live here. I have said I would never campaign against people visiting the island… but I would certainly not encourage people to vacation here.

        • jruffdc

          Thanks so much. I really wanted to see Bermuda, and more than likely I will, at some point. The people in the USVI were extremely gay-friendly and respectful to me and my husband, I was really impressed.

  • DaveMiller135

    The answer more or less guarantees that they will have to ask Trump himself. On the stand.

    • j.martindale

      Not really. The courts can force the witness to testify after such a hearing as this if they believe the attorney-client defense doesn’t apply. This is NOT the end of the discussion. And if he refuses to answer, he can be held in contempt of Court or Congress, or he could claim the 5th.

      • DaveMiller135

        I’m sure you’re right on the law. I suppose I meant that the intention of the answer is to pass the buck. Perhaps hoping Daddy will know how to avoid questioning, or that, as Evader in Chief, he will know better how to handle it.

      • Rillion

        The attorney client privilege only shields the attorney from being compelled to reveal the discussion. It doesn’t apply at all to the client. His only protection here would be the 5th, unless he was married to everyone in the conversation and then depending on the jurisdiction there might be a martial privilege.

        • j.martindale

          Sorry, but you are mistaken. The attorney asserts the privilege, tells the witness not to answer, and the witness either takes his advice not to answer on the basis of the assertion of privilege, or can choose to answer against the advice of counsel. If he answers, the privilege is lost. It is then up to the courts to decide whether the information requested is privileged. This is a constant feature in depositions, of which I have witnessed thousands.

  • Gustav2

    I have decided the my family’s dynamic was all wrong, we should have always had an attorney in the room when we had dinner conversations.

    • DaddyRay

      With how divided America is, that may be a good idea for the holidays

      • Gustav2

        I wonder if we can claim “confessional” when one of the ordained members of the family is present.

        • ChrisMorley

          Remember to start with the Magic Incantation “Bless me Father, for I have sinned….”

    • Droz

      And communicate ONLY through the lawyers.

    • Reality.Bites

      In the words of Beverley Leslie, when it comes to family, always cremate.

  • RaygunsGoZap

    Boyfriend: Schiff seems happy…🤔

  • fuow

    I seem to recall Saint Scalia having ruled from the bench on just this…but, heh, it only applies to Democrats, AmIRight?

  • Todd20036

    Republicans know Trump is a traitor, but they also know he’s a republican. And that’s all that matters.

    Hopefully, Mueller can get Trump on state laws because no matter how guilty Trump is, the republicans will not impeach or even convict.

    In fact, a big reason why they’re all about Benghazi is pure projection.

    • peacfulseas inWA

      He’s neither Democrat , Republican, or even an Independent. He’s an Opportunist. He’s loyal to no one but himself.

  • hdtex
    • vtdave

      Orange is the new Nazi? #Drumph

  • jruffdc

    Jesus Christ.

  • Sporkfighter
  • Kevin Andrews

    The season of treason is upon us now. These vile, scum-sucking gilded feces have absolutely no place in AmeriKKKan Government today or any day. The Kabuki and fraud is delayed to aid their destruction of this Nation.
    The only cure is the Gallows in the public square.

  • Kevin Andrews
    • stevenj

      I’d drop the “It’s as if” part of that sentence.

  • Gene Perry

    Attorney priv. doesn’t apply when the attorney is a co-conspirator. Who was the attorney present?

  • Mark

    And that is all there is to say. Guilty as fuck.

  • Halou

    If a poor person, “immigrant”, Muslim, or a black guy had committed such egregious treason they would have been locked in a box in Guantanamo Bay before the start of February. Gods help if someone who is all four and gets accused.

  • romanhans
    • BobSF_94117

      “Will you take a check?”

      “Come on, what’s the problem?”

      “Gold bars?”

  • anne marie in philly


  • Rillion

    The third party exception doesn’t apply here if the attornies are representing all the parties present. But attorney client privilege only prevents the attorney from revealing what was discussed NOT the client. The client is free to reveal any and all matters that were discussed.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Except he was in committee and thus privilege, upon 3rd presence is waived. You’re right, the lawyer can clam up, but Jr. has zero privilege in this matter.

  • Rocco

    He’s considered the smart brother?

    • William

      You’re comparing a turnip to a rutabaga. Neither will be designing rockets for NASA.

      • jmax

        I was going to say neither was a brain surgeon, but Dr. Stabby Carson fucked up that analogy.

    • Well, nobody called him on it and he’s going to get off just as easily as Sessions did by claiming “potential” executive privilege, so in a sense he kind of is smart (or at least untouchable, for now).

  • Galvestonian

    …is that legal ?

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Like Joe said, the presence of 3rd parties voids privilege, that’s law 101.

  • William

    Let Elliott Stabler work over Junior for a couple hours and he’ll talk.

    Fuck that, let Elliott Stabler work me over.

  • StuckNtexas

    He waived privilege by his father’s presence. Just another example of things getting f’d up any time Donald is around.

  • Pip

    The fact that they let him get away with this is bs. You are correct about the third party presence.

  • coram nobis

    I suppose Junior could have claimed state-secrets privilege (see Reynolds v. U.S., 345 U.S. 1 (1953)), which Bush 43’s and Obama’s DOJ lawyers used to stifle various rendition and detainee cases post-9/11. Of course, Junior isn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier, so he probably thought that daddy-son conversations were somehow privileged, or maybe just talking to the alleged president of the former United States — neither of which are covered by traditional rules of privilege.

    Of course, Junior probably wouldn’t know an estoppel from a toilet plunger.

    Evidence professor: Describe the doctor-patient privilege.
    Me: That gives the patient or client the right to prevent the doctor from disclosing confidential information in evidence. Doctor-patient, or psychiatrist-patient. Inadmissible if the patient raises the privilege.
    Evidence professor: Or psychologist-patient, or therapist-patient, or social worker and client? How far does the privilege extend among the spectrum of mental-health workers?
    Me: That depends on how Jung they are.
    Class: EWWWW.

  • coram nobis

    “lawyers were present for his conversation with the President and argued that this shields him from having to detail the discussion with the committee”

    That’s not how it works, otherwise, anything anybody says in the presence of an attorney, even if it has nothing to do with the attorney’s representation of you and your case, would be inadmissible. It’s been tried before, e.g., the presence of an attorney on your Board of Directors doesn’t shield discussions of, say, fraud — though it may add one more defendant.

    And, yes, the rule is also void if there are third parties. If you were to have your attorney on retainer, or on a leash, and you go to Folsom Street Fair, you couldn’t expect privilege for every conversation or solicitation you both receive.

    … And you’re serving a treat
    (Penny ice and cold meat)
    To a party of friends and relations,
    They’re a ravenous horde, and they all came on board
    At Sloane Square and South Kensington Stations.
    And bound on that journey you find your attorney
    who set off this morning from Devon;
    He’s a bit undersized and you don’t feel surprised
    When he tells you he’s only eleven …
    — “Iolanthe”