On Saturday, it was reported that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III now has thousands of emails, which he obtained from the General Services Administration, which is a government agency. Mueller has been investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and obtained these emails in an attempt to find new leads to help his investigation.
Now, Trump’s lawyer says that Mueller obtained the emails unlawfully. According to Reuters:
‘Kory Langhofer, counsel to the transition team known as Trump for America, Inc., wrote a letter to congressional committees to say Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had improperly received the emails from the General Services Administration, a government agency.’
The letter says that staff members at the agency “unlawfully produced TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications, to the Special Counsel’s Office.” It also said that the materials included “tens of thousands of emails.”
Reuters also reported:
‘The Trump team’s accusation adds to the growing friction between the president’s supporters and Mueller’s office as it investigates whether Russia interfered in the election and if Trump or anyone on his team colluded with Moscow.’
White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said:
‘We continue to cooperate fully with the special counsel and expect this process to wrap up soon.’
Many Democrats feel that Trump’s allies both on Capitol Hill and in the media are making every effort to discredit Mueller’s investigation. Trump continues to deny Russia’s involvement with the election, and has said that Mueller’s investigation is a waste of time. Trump said:
‘There is absolutely no collusion. That has been proven.’
According to Reuters:
‘On Friday, Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said he fears the committee’s Republican majority intends to close its investigation of the topic prematurely. Some Republicans have argued that Mueller is biased against Trump and should be fired.’
Trump’s attorney, Kory Langhofer, sent the letter to both the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Langhofer’s letter asked for Congress to act immediately:
‘to protect future presidential transitions from having their private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives.’
Langhofer said in the letter that Mueller’s office obtained the emails despite the fact that it was aware the GSA did not own or control the records. It accused the special counsel’s office of not notifying the Trump for America team before:
‘extensively (using) the materials in question, including portions that are susceptible to claims of privilege’
Mueller has extensively investigated a number of aides on Trump’s transition team, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pled guilty on charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.
Trump’s transition team lawyer wrote that he discovered the emails had been transferred to the GSA on December 12 and 13, 2017. Reuters reported:
‘The FBI had requested the materials from GSA staff last Aug. 23, asking for copies of the emails, laptops, cell phones and other materials associated with nine members of the Trump transition team response for national security and policy matters, the letter said.’
On August 30, The FBI also requested additional materials from four senior members of the Trump transition team. Langhofer argues that transition teams are considered private, nonprofit organizations whose records are private and not subject to presidential records laws.