"As I understand it, this particular conversation for which they were claiming privilege took place after the emails became public, and, was therefore focused more on the reaction to the publication of the emails", Schiff told reporters. Prior to this, of course, we had learned about the now famous meeting in Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner, and a lawyer with ties to the Russian government. The White House has said the president was involved in drafting an early statement saying the meeting primarily concerned a Russian adoption program.
In September, Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he, Goldstone and Agalarov "never discussed the meeting again".
Once it became apparent that she did not have meaningful information about Clinton, Trump seemed to lose interest, Veselnitskaya said, and the meeting petered out.
Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., left, and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., leave a House Intelligence Committee meeting as it breaks for a House floor vote from interviewing Donald Trump Jr., on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. Goldstone has said he puffed up the language of the original email invitation, the contents of which were dictated to him by Agalarov-whose father is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It does not cover conversations between two non-lawyers like Trump Jr. and his father simply because there happened to be an attorney in the room.
Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said after Wednesday's session that Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged that he had discussed the Trump Tower meeting by telephone with his father on July 10.
"I don't think my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would dispute the fact that as to this very central conversation between father and son, the witness declined to answer the question", Schiff said.
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Trump Jr. had gone into the meeting expecting to receive information on Hillary Clinton that would contribute to his father's election victory.
In emails pitching Trump Jr. on the meeting, Goldstone said Veselnitskaya was able to provide the Trump campaign with "some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary (Clinton) and her dealings with Russian Federation". He also said he had not told Trump that he exchanged private messages with the WikiLeaks Twitter account, the sources said. "That's not the goal of attorney-client privilege".
But Schiff questioned whether that was a valid reason to not tell Congress about the conversations.
"The general rule is that a conversation is *not* privileged if a third person is present for the conversation with an attorney and a client", Mariotti said. "Who was he representing and what was the goal of this conversation?..."
In the end, this is a matter that would have to be resolved by the courts, assuming that either the committee or special counsel Mueller want to pursue the matter. Democrats reject Trump's privilege claim.