The White House / Flickr trump admin praying...
The White House / Flickr

It’s honestly astounding that the White House isn’t experiencing a flurry of resignations, especially since the Junior-Kushner-Manafort confab with Russians has provided the perfect excuse for any aide to declare their loyalty to the Constitution rather than Trump’s seedy enterprise.

But failing some sense of patriotism, how about legal jeopardy? That’s exactly the pickle some White House aides are in after workshopping a response to the very meeting that should repulse them anyway. CNN writes:

They can now be called on by investigators led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to explain what they may have learned about the meeting that the President’s eldest son, Trump Jr., his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had with the Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

White House aides and Kushner’s legal team began strategizing in late June over how to manage the disclosure of newly discovered emails setting up that meeting, according to sources close to Kushner’s legal team.

Their public relations efforts culminated in a series of stumbles over the weekend in response to inquiries from The New York Times, which was working to publish a story about the meeting. Initial statements by Trump Jr., who organized the meeting, were undermined by more reporting from the paper.

First of all, let’s just let it sink in that Kushner and Co. had been working on a response for several weeks before this came to light and a week full of successive PR blunders was the result. Normally, I’d say, don’t quit your day jobs, but …

Anyway, the fact that some of Trump’s closest White House aides ended up crafting a response on the fly—literally, on an AF1 flight back from Europe—rather than letting Trump’s lawyers handle it may have made them privy to key information on certain aspects of the Russia investigation. And because they cannot invoke attorney-client privilege, their knowledge also poses a legal risk for Trump.

The Times reported Wednesday that the President himself approved the statement, raising the possibility the President may have opened himself up to new legal issues not covered by attorney-client privilege.

So much for all that planning. 

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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