It has to be serious for the DOJ to want to breach attorney-client privilege: analysis
Donald Trump in the White House. (vasilis asvestas /

The court rulings around Donald Trump's document scandal reveal that there was a crime committed, and that's the reason that the court agreed to breach attorney-client privilege. It's a point that Los AngelesTimes legal columnist Harry Litman said shouldn't be ignored.

"We are talking about the subpoena and the false declaration that is a crime in itself, very possibly," said Litman about the information in the classified documents scandal. "And the only reason you could find a crime-fraud exception here is because the actual communications between [Trump lawyer Evan] Corcoran and Trump are themselves evidence of a crime. Stop and think about that. What is the least it could be? This is one Corcoran is preparing to, well, actually tell Christina Bobb, 'sign this, it will be okay. We've done a diligent search and we have turned over everything.' That was a lie. That is a serious lie. And in sort of prosecutorial terms, a very clean one."

He went on to say that it isn't just words that are involved in this case, but the invoices as well.

"We have tantalizing personal audio recordings," Litman explained. "Clearly, it is almost — the least it could be is very strong evidence of Trump participating in a clear violation with that subpoena and the false declaration. It could be the centerpiece of this Mar-a-Lago case. And it seems possible that it is close to the final nail in the case he is building."

MSNBC host Chris Hayes explained that it isn't normal to breach attorney-client privilege. The bar for that is high.

On MSNBC, former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade agreed, saying that it's rare that the Justice Department would make such a move.

"It is sacrosanct. The Justice Department respects it," said McQuade. "I can remember in 20 years at the U.S. attorney's office — one time when we did seek that high-level approval to pierce the attorney-client privilege. It was because the attorney was working with the client in a conspiracy. They were both in on it. But we went through all of the steps, the judge reviewed the material, and then determined that yes, because of the evidence, there was a crime here. But never, to answer your question, have I seen a situation where the client was trying to use the lawyer as a pawn to fulfill a crime— that may be what is happening here."

See the full discussion in the video below or at the link here.

It has to be serious for the DOJ to want to breach attorney-client privilege: legal