The tail of Air Force One is illuminated as it lands at the military airport in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, July 5, 2017. President Donald Trump is back to Europe hoping to receive a friendly welcome in Poland despite lingering skepticism across the continent over his commitment to NATO, his past praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his decision to pull the U.S. out of a major climate agreement. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

The White House Leakers Have All But Admitted They Have No Attorney-Client Privilege in the Russia Story

If you read this New York Times story you’ll notice it is almost entirely sourced from people presently working for President Trump. And these leakers, trying to protect themselves by leaking to the press about their colleagues, have just done something very stupid.

Here’s the first paragraph that should raise red flags. It is the second paragraph in the story:

As Air Force One jetted back from Europe on Saturday, a small cadre of Mr. Trump’s advisers huddled in a cabin helping to craft a statement for the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., to give to The New York Times explaining why he met last summer with a lawyer connected to the Russian government. Participants on the plane and back in the United States debated how transparent to be in the statement, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Here is the second paragraph that should raise red flags. It is the fourth from the last paragraph:

Elsewhere, Mr. Kasowitz was working separately to inform an article being prepared by Circa, a news outlet the White House considers favorable, instead of The Times. According to the person close to the legal team, Mr. Kasowitz was kept out of the discussion about Donald Trump Jr.’s initial statement and saw it only after it had been published online in the first Times article.

And here is the third to the last paragraph, which should also raise red flags.

The original statement, drafted aboard Air Force One by advisers and then approved by Mr. Trump, said only that the Russian lawyer had discussed adoption policy during the meeting, without mentioning that the meeting had been offered as a chance to provide information about Mrs. Clinton’s dealings with Russia. Only after The Times followed up in preparation for another article did the younger Mr. Trump issue a second statement acknowledging that.

So White House staff, on Air Force One, worked together on a press statement about Donald Trump, Jr. There were no lawyers present there. So goodbye attorney-client privilege regarding the formulation of that statement. These staffers, one or more of whom must be the leakers, have forfeited their right to attorney-client privilege by admitting to the New York Times that the White House staffers sat on Air Force One hammering out a statement without looping their lawyers into the mix. Robert Mueller now has a new line of inquiry where he knows there were not lawyers present in the formulation of that statement.

How much damage will be done to President Trump by leakers trying to protect themselves? These leakers themselves need to get lawyers fast.

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Erick Erickson

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