In Mr. Corallo’s account—which he provided contemporaneously to three colleagues who later gave it to the Times—he told both Mr. Trump and Ms. Hicks that the statement drafted aboard Air Force One would backfire because documents would eventually surface showing that the meeting had been set up for the Trump campaign to get political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians.
According to his account, Ms. Hicks responded that the e-mails “will never get out” because only a few people had access to them. Mr. Corallo, who worked as a Justice Department spokesman during the George W. Bush administration, told colleagues he was alarmed not only by what Ms. Hicks had said—either she was being naïve or was suggesting that the e-mails 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.
Adding to the perplexing nature of Hicks’s remarks was the fact that the e-mails had already been sent to Capitol Hill as part of Congress’s own investigation, meaning that Don Jr.’s damning messages had passed through several sets of hands. Corallo, who previously served under Attorney General John Ashcroft, reportedly got off the phone, advised Trump to continue the discussion with lawyers present, took notes about the call, and told then-chief strategist Steve Bannon what had happened. (According to the Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury, Bannon lost his temper with Hicks after the meeting, telling her that she should get a lawyer and adding, “You don’t know how much trouble you are in . . . you are as dumb as a stone!”)
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