US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, April 10, tweeted saying "Attorney-client privilege is dead!". What did he mean by it? Why the word "attorney-client privilege" is doing rounds in America's power corridors at the moment?
The raid at the office of Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday, April 9, made many people question the justification of such a raid, given the protection received under attorney-client privilege.
The news that the FBI raided the office of President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen Monday caused many people to wonder how such a raid could be justified given the protections afforded under attorney-client privilege - a rule that protects the confidentiality of communications between lawyers and their clients. As per this rule, attorneys may not reveal their clients' secrets not can they be forced to. The aim of this rule is to encourage the clients to openly share information with their lawyers and help them make a worthy representation.
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
The FBI's raid was criticised for it was suspected to be an act which intrudes into the communications between an attorney and his client in order to corner the president. The federal agents reportedly got hold of documents related to various issues, including Cohen's payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had an affair with Trump, ahead of the presidential election of 2016 to keep her silent. The New York Times reported about the raid first.
Former US attorney and deputy assistant attorney general Harry Litman, however, said the FBI's going about with the raid showed how seriously the justice department is when it comes to handling materials that could be protected by the lawyer-client privilege, a report in USA Today said. He said it is "very unusual" for the justice department otherwise to permit officials to raid an attorney's office.
Attorney–client privilege is dead!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
Trump himself said a few days ago that he had no knowledge about his lawyer paying Daniels $130,000 in "hush money".
Trump followed up his "attorney-client privilege is dead" with another, saying "A total witch hunt!!!"