Robert Mueller now has thousands of Trump transition emails
A lawyer for President Trump’s transition team has accused special counsel Robert Mueller of illegally obtaining tens of thousands of emails as part of his probe into Russian election meddling.
In a letter sent to House and Senate committees on Saturday, Trump for America counsel Kory Langhofer complained that staffers from the General Services Administration federal agency “unlawfully produced” the communications.
Langhofer argued that the documents contained private and privileged communications and were not government property.
“(The GSA) did not own or control the records in question,” the letter says. “The materials produced by the GSA to the Special Counsel’s Office therefore included materials protected by the attorney-client privilege, the deliberative process privilege, and the presidential communications privilege.”
The records were said to include emails between 13 top Trump transition officials.
Among them were the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents and is now cooperating with Mueller’s probe.
The trove of documents contained a broad array of communications, ranging from national security discussions to candid assessments of candidates for top government roles, transition officials said.
The letter from Langhofer marks the latest sign of friction between Trump supporters and the far-reaching Mueller investigation. Trump and his boosters have stepped up attacks against the FBI and Mueller and his team in recent weeks, claiming that the probe is a partisan witch hunt.
The GSA and officials at the special counsel’s office did not return requests for comment.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders sidestepped a question about the records obtained by Mueller’s team. “We continue to cooperate fully with the special counsel and expect this process to wrap up soon,” she said.
Trump transition lawyer Kory Langhofer believes the emails were given to Mueller’s team unlawfully.
(Ross D. Franklin/AP)
Trump’s transition team used the facilities of the GSA, which helps manage the U.S. government bureaucracy, in the period between his November presidential election victory and his inauguration in January.
Trump for America officials didn’t learn that the GSA had turned over the cache of documents until last Wednesday.
Langhofer wrote that Trump for America executives were told that any request for the records would be routed directly to them.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News Saturday evening, GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt denied the claim that then-GSA General Counsel Richard Beckler had promised that any requests for transition team records would be “routed to legal counsel for (Trump for America).”
“Beckler never made that commitment,” Loewentritt said.
Langhofer said in his letter that the FBI had requested the materials from the GSA on Aug. 23.
Beckler was “hospitalized and incapacitated” at the time of Mueller’s request in August. He died the following month, Langhofer said.
The FBI asked for access to 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. Nine days later, the GSA turned over a flash drive containing tens of thousands of records without informing Trump for America of its move, transition officials said.
With News Wire Services