You know it was a bad day for Donald Trump Jr when one of his Republican allies in Congress leaked the testimony of another Trump-Russia witness to try to help him in advance of his own testimony, and yet Junior still managed to screw it up. He blew his own testimony in so many ways today, it’s difficult to keep up – and this is even as various pieces of today’s closed-door hearings are still leaking out to the public.
For starters, Donald Trump Jr admitted today that he told Hope Hicks about his meeting with Russian government representatives at Trump Tower during the election. The only reason for anyone in the Trump campaign to tell Hicks anything is if they were looking to get that message to Donald Trump, so Junior just confessed by default that his father knew about the meeting and was part of the conspiracy. In addition, because Trump Jr has now incriminated Hicks, she’s likely to respond by incriminating Trump Sr in order to protect herself. But that was just the beginning of Junior’s failed testimony.
Donald Trump Jr refused to answer questions about his conversations about the Russia meeting with Donald Trump, citing attorney-client privilege, according to a new Politico article, simply because one of them had an attorney in the room at the time (link). That’s not what attorney-client privilege is. The Republican majority on the House Intel Committee will probably choose not to hold Junior in contempt of Congress for this, but it was still a very stupid move. Junior just more or less told Special Counsel Robert Mueller to focus on those conversations specifically, because they obviously contained something illegal.
At this point Donald Trump Jr is trying to rely on the “Don’t look over there” defense strategy, which only ever results in investigators looking over there and finding it. Junior just motivated Hope Hicks to flip on Donald Trump, and he told investigators exactly where to look. When Junior eventually has to sit down with Robert Mueller, he’ll be arrested for obstruction if he tries to falsely invoke attorney-client privilege in this manner.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report