Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Congress grills Trump Jr. on 2016 meeting as Russian Federation probe picks up

Not Released Trump Jr. says he communicated with Hope Hicks, not his father, about Trump Tower response
Nicole Thomas | 07 December, 2017, 09:16

A separate 2016 meeting with Alexander Torshin, a senior Russian politician and central banker close to President Vladimir Putin, has added to the scrutiny of President Trump's eldest son.

Earlier this week Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Trump Jr. asked if she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation. Many legal experts disagreed with this assertion, yet on Wednesday the Trump team made a decision to try out another creative legal claim.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump Jr., reportedly told House Intelligence Committee members that he spoke with top Trump aide Hope Hicks but not with his father directly when the news broke.

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 sources tell ABC News that the committee's questions focused on what information was exchanged during the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting in New York City, and the president's oldest son indicated the short gathering did not produce any information and ended quickly.

Despite the White House denials, Russian Federation probe investigators have pushed hard to learn all possible details about exactly what Mr. Trump knew about the Veselnitskaya meeting. After Veselnitskaya said she didn't, she says Trump Jr. apparently lost interest in the meeting.

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"In my view, there is no attorney client privilege that protects a discussion between a father and son", Schiff said. "To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out", Trump Jr. said in September. In between he placed or received a call to another person whose number was blocked.

Trump Jr.'s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, said last month that there was only "small talk" between them.

Representative Jackie Speier told CNN that she found him "pretty non-responsive" throughout the day.

Why did he make that claim despite the fact that neither man is a lawyer? But they may not get the chance, as "it's up to the Republicans whether or not to call him back", according to Swalwell.

"The only category of question the he declined to answer were, with respect to any discussion with his father about the June 9th meeting, after the emails had been disclosed publicly", Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told ABC News's Pierre Thomas after the interview.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, one of the Republicans leading the probe, said the interview was "professional" and described Trump Jr.as "cooperative at all times".

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