A former member of President Trump’s legal team is expected to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller about White House communications director Hope Hicks’ possible obstruction of justice regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s emails pertaining to the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016, The New York Times reports.
Mark Corallo, the former spokesman for the legal team, has alleged that during a conference call in July of last year — after the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer became known to the public — Hicks promised that Trump Jr.’s emails “will never get out,” the Times reports.
According to The Huffington Post, Corallo plans to tell Mueller’s team about the call where Hicks and Trump discussed the meeting that took place between Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer who was to provide the Trump team with damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
“Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Ms. Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting — in which the younger Mr. Trump said he was eager to receive political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians — “will never get out.” That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Ms. Hicks could be contemplating obstructing justice, the people said,” the Times reported.
″Mr. Corallo… told colleagues he was alarmed not only by what Ms. Hicks had said — either she was being naive or was suggesting that the emails could be withheld from investigators — but also that she had said it in front of the president without a lawyer on the phone and that the conversation could not be protected by attorney-client privilege.”
Trump Jr. had initially claimed that the meeting was to discuss sanctions regarding adoption and a potential program for American families to adopt Russian children, The New York Post reports. However, eventually Trump Jr. came to admit that the meeting was about “opposition research” on Clinton.
According to the Times, Trump’s team debated on how to handle the reports on the Russian lawyer meeting, and several statements were drafted and released by lawyers representing those involved in the meeting. Corallo has said that he told both Hicks and Trump that misleading statements regarding the meeting could have repercussions, and that Trump Jr.’s emails with the Russian lawyer would likely come out in the end, HuffPost reports.
According to Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, Corallo ultimately felt that this was a possible obstruction of justice and resigned from his position, The New York Post reports.
“Mark Corallo was instructed not to speak to the press, indeed not to even answer his phone. Later that week, Corallo, seeing no good outcome ― and privately confiding that he believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice ― quit,” Wolff wrote.
A lawyer representing Hicks has since denied the claims, HuffPost reports.
“She never said that. And the idea that Hope Hicks ever suggested that emails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false,” Hicks’ lawyer, Robert P. Trout, told the Times.