He clammed up

Don Junior is refusing to answer.

In a closed-door interview with congressional investigators yesterday, Donald Trump Jr. refused to divulge the contents of a phone conversation with his father — that would be the president — that took place just after news broke of Trump Jr.’s now-notorious June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. According to reports, investigators wanted to know whether Senior and Junior discussed what happened at that meeting and how they should respond to the news of it, but Trump Jr. cited attorney-client privilege and clammed up.

In an interview with me this morning, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) — the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which interviewed Trump Jr. yesterday — told me that if Trump Jr. continues to refuse to answer questions about this phone call, he will push for the committee to subpoena Trump Jr. and try to compel him to testify about it.

But, of course, he’s in the minority party, so if all the Republicans are happy with being tainted by the Dons this way, no subpoena, no answering questions, no anything. Putin can go on running us as long as the Rs keep their majority.

In his session with the Intelligence Committee, Trump Jr. was pressed to detail what transpired on a call he had with the president about the Trump Tower meeting in July 2017, just days after the news of it broke. Trump Jr.’s email chain, you will recall, confirmed that he took this meeting — which was also attended by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chair Paul Manafort — in the full expectation that it would yield dirt on Hillary Clinton provided by the Russian government, which was trying to tip the election to his father. Trump Jr. declined to detail the conversation, on the grounds that lawyers for both Trump Jr. and his father were also on the call, meaning it is protected by attorney-client privilege, a claim Schiff rejects.

Schiff told me — as he also told reporters late yesterday — that Trump Jr.’s lawyer asked for some time to study whether they will ultimately comply with investigators’ request for more detail about the call. Schiff said in our interview that he hopes Trump Jr. and his lawyer ultimately decide that privilege does not apply and that they will be forthcoming.

Any bets?

Schiff told me he’s concerned that if Trump Jr. continues to refuse to discuss this call, Republicans will not press the issue, to avoid determining what happened on it.

“If the majority isn’t willing to find out, then they’re not living up to their commitment to the American people to follow the facts wherever they lead,” Schiff said. “Effectively they’re saying, ‘We don’t want to know where the facts lead, so we’re not going to insist on answers.’ ”

The larger context here is that the president himself helped dictate the initial statement that misled the American people about the true rationale for this meeting. Investigators want more info about the call between Trump Jr. and his father because it might help establish both what happened at that meeting and why Senior and Junior subsequently covered it up.

But they’re criminals, as opposed to public servants, so they have zero sense of responsibility to be forthcoming with us.

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