Is a Showdown Coming Between Trump and Mueller?

Dec 18, 2017, 00:43
Is a Showdown Coming Between Trump and Mueller?

He claimed some of the documents Mueller obtained were "susceptible to privilege claims".

After Mueller's office obtained thousands of emails from the Trump transition team, officials with Trump for America claimed that the emails had been illegally turned over by the General Services Administration because the account owners never received notification about the request. G.S.A. deputy counsel Lenny Loewentritt also told BuzzFeed Saturday that before using G.S.A. devices, the Trump transition team had been informed that materials "would not be held back in any law enforcement" actions; "therefore, no expectation of privacy can be assumed", he said.

The emails in question involve 13 transition officials, including four senior ones, according to the letter.

Beckler died in September, and career GSA staff didn't consult or inform his successor of what Langhofer called "the unauthorized production of PTT materials".

"When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process", Carr said.

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While there's nothing yet to indicate whether there was anything explosive in those emails, the administration is clearly spooked.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (R) departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2017.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNN: "I haven't heard anything about any firing, but we have to get past this investigation".

The federal investigation and others in Congress have indeed been a drag on the Trump administration's first-year political agenda, which had led to speculation that Trump wants to fire Mueller to conclude the probe.

But in August, while Beckler was in the hospital and incapacitated, Mueller's office and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents approached GSA twice for Trump transition materials, Langhofer said. "Future transitions will have to re-examine this relationship", he said.

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There are rumors around Washington suggesting Trump's firing of Mueller is imminent. "Meanwhile, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on the House intelligence committee, dismissed the claim outright as a transparent ploy: "'Private documents' on a US Government, public email system?" he wrote on Twitter Saturday. Baloney. This is another attempt to discredit Mueller as his #TrumpRussia probe tightens.

The letter added that a warrant should have been obtained for such materials, and said it violated the Presidential Transition Act.

During a House Judiciary Committee last week, Republicans slammed the special counsel's office over what they said was the Democratic-leaning bias of some of its key lawyers and investigators.

The email records are incredibly sensitive, given they include national security discussions about possible global goals for Mr Trump and contain candid assessments of candidates for top government posts.

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