06 Dec 2017 at 21:30 ET
In a discussion Wednesday night, CNN panelists — including a congressman who was at Donald Trump Jr.’s House Intelligence Committee earlier in the day — explained why the junior Trump’s invocation of “attorney-client privilege” isn’t legally sound.
“This is not a privilege in the law,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told host Anderson Cooper. “If it was, essentially every defendant in America could call into their attorney’s office, an alibi witness, and talk to them directly to get their stories straight and a prosecutor would never be able to penetrate that. That’s not how it works.”
The California congressman went on to say that he hopes the Republicans who control the committee either call Trump Jr. back or subpoena him because, as many associated with President Donald Trump have exhibited in the past, his hand may need to be forced. He also said Republicans on the committee could have told Trump Jr. that he’d need to come back under a subpoena, but didn’t.
“I believe the Republicans should start putting these witnesses under subpoena and then when they assert bogus privileges compel them to testify,” Swalwell continued, “and I think we’ll get to the truth.”
The panel then shifted to Michael Zeldin, who formerly served as special counsel Robert Mueller’s Justice Department special assistant. When asked by Cooper if Trump Jr.’s invocation of attorney-client privilege “had any legal merit,” Zeldin answered unequivocally that it has “none whatsoever.”
If that privilege existed, it would “probably be waived” because, as Zeldin noted, “there were third parties present” and as Trump Jr. himself asserted, he and his lawyer spoke through White House senior adviser Hope Hicks as an intermediary to the president.
“There’s nothing that’s attorney-client privilege protectable in that chain,” the former federal prosecutor.
“Maybe the assertion of attorney-client privilege here is to buy time to get their story straight,” Zeldin said later in the segment, “which is in and of itself very problematic and I don’t think Mueller will find that availing.”
Cooper later asked Zeldin if Mueller would permit the attorney-client privilege claim, to which the former prosecutor, the congressman and co-panelist Gloria Borger all laughed. He then said that it’s possible Mueller could use that claim to add to obstruction of justice charges brought against Trump Jr. and his father.
You can watch the segment on Trump Jr.’s bizarre privilege invocation below, via CNN.
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By Eric Boehlert |
December 6, 2017
No way, no how. That’s what civil rights leaders think of Trump attending civil rights museum ceremony in Mississippi on Saturday.
Like a skunk at a picnic.
What’s pretty much how civil rights leaders view the possibility of Donald Trump traveling down to Mississippi on Saturday to attend the opening of a new civil rights museum.
And now the NAACP is making it official. They don’t want Trump, who’s well known for his ugly, race-baiting attacks from the White House, to attend the ceremony.
“President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement,” Derrick Johnson, the NAACP’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation.”
It’s astonishing that we’re at a place where the president of the United States is not welcome at the opening of a history museum. It’s likely unprecedented in modern American politics.
But Trump has already established an unparalleled record of racist attacks for any Oval Office occupant, so of course the NAACP doesn’t want him anywhere near the important museum opening.
Just last week, Trump unfurled a racist slur during a White House ceremony.
Recently, he’s been obsessed with attacking and slandering professional black athletes, and specifically NFL players who conduct silent protests during the national anthem in an effort to highlight disparities in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Trump still clings in private to the racist birther conspiracy claim, which suggests President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
The torrent of ugly attacks is so relentless that NBC’s Jim Acosta last week asked, “Who is left for him to offend?”
All the more insulting for civil rights leaders is the fact that Trump wants to attend the Mississippi ceremony one day after he holds a rally in Pensacola, Florida, where he’s expected to again publicly endorse openly racist accused child molester Roy Moore — who in September smeared Americans as “reds and yellows” — for Alabama senator.
Not only has Moore been accused by many women of sexual assault, but the controversial Republican has long been criticized by civil rights advocates for claiming Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress and that homosexual behavior should be illegal.
For the good of the country, the NAACP is hoping Trump the skunk stays away on Saturday.
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