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Michael Flynn’s Attorney Invokes ‘Executive Privilege,’ But Admits She Personally Spoke with Trump About the Case

The lead attorney representing former National Security Advisor and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn admitted to bringing President Donald Trump into the loop on the high-profile case–immediately after purporting to invoke “executive privilege” on the matter.

During an oftentimes cantankerous portion of a technology-deficient hearing on Tuesday, Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell stunned U.S. District Judge for the D.C. Circuit Emmet G. Sullivan into silence when the issue of Trump’s direct involvement arose.

Sullivan began his questioning of Powell by referring to a controversial letter she penned to Attorney General Bill Barr prior to her work on the case. The letter predicted Brady violations would come out and asked for the removal of all attorneys connected to the Russiagate investigation led by former special counsel Robert Mueller.

The judge then somewhat interrupted himself and asked, as a threshold matter, if Powell had ever spoke to the president about the Flynn case. A few beats passed before the attorney answered.

“I’m sorry your honor, I can’t discuss that,” Powell eventually said.

A bemused Sullivan pressed Powell as to why she couldn’t answer his question.

“I would think that any conversations I have had with the president would be covered by executive privilege,” Powell replied.

“You don’t work for the government,” Sullivan noted.

“I don’t think executive privilege only applies to people who work for the government,” Powell replied.

That’s not quite how executive privilege works–as noted by University of Michigan Law Professor Leah Litman:

“So you’re purporting to invoke executive privilege?” the increasingly astonished judge asked before attempting to ferret out additional details as to the general nature of the conversation. Powell eventually conceded that she personally gave Trump the outlines of her representation of Flynn so far.

“I provided it in person, before counsel for the president,” Flynn’s attorney clarified.

“Who did you speak to?” Judge Sullivan asked.

“I spoke with Jenna Ellis and I spoke to the president himself to provide him with a brief update on the status of the litigation in the past couple of weeks.”

Ellis is the Trump campaign’s senior legal advisor. She currently worked as a constitutional attorney and advocate for right-wing evangelical Christian interests.

“Did you make any requests?” Sullivan pressed.

“No, only that he not issue a pardon,” Powell said.

“How many discussions?” Sullivan demanded.

“That’s the only one I recall,” Powell demurred.

Sullivan again appeared distraught over the attorney’s response–asking whether or not she would remember a conversation with the president.

“What did you ask him to do in connection with this case?” Sullivan reiterated.

“I never discussed this case with the president until recently when I asked him not to issue a pardon and when I provided him with a general status update about the litigation,” Powell said–effectively ending this discrete line of inquiry.

The explosive news was quickly processed by Twitter users as a bombshell deserving of further inquiry:

[image via screengrab/Fox News]

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