Mueller Claus is coming — and Team Trump is freaking out!
Trump’s minions are in total freakout mode after yesterday’s major BFD of a story from Axios:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained “many tens of thousands” of Trump transition emails [from the General Services Administration, which hosted the Trump transition team’s email system on their .gov servers], including emails of Jared Kushner, transition team sources tell Axios.
- Trump officials discovered Mueller had the emails when his prosecutors used them as the basis for questions to witnesses, the sources said.
- The emails include 12 accounts, one of which contains about 7,000 emails, the sources said.
- The accounts include the team’s political leadership and the foreign-policy team, the sources said.
Needless to say, their pushback indicates that Trump’s attorneys are still panicking as they scramble to contain irreparable damage:
Officials of President Trump’s transition team plan to ask Special Counsel Robert Mueller to return “many tens of thousands” of transition emails they contend were unlawfully provided to him. But the prosecutor’s office says emails being used in the investigation were properly obtained.RudolGiuli
What’s new: A source close to Trump’s transition, which still exists as a legal entity so it can shut down what was once a 1,000-person operation, said the transition will send a letter to Mueller informing him that some of the emails are privileged, and asking for their return. The transition says it is willing to provide Mueller with vetted emails.
The source told me: “What they did is totally illegal, and they need to fix it.” But Peter Carr, spokesman for the Special Counsel’s Office, told Axios early this morning: “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.”
There has been additional pushback:
Democratic lawmaker Eric Swalwell was among the first to hit back at the claims: “‘Private documents’ on a U.S. Government, public email system? What are they afraid was found? Baloney. This is another attempt to discredit Mueller as his #TrumpRussia probe tightens,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Of course Mueller obtained emails from a third party,” Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said, also on Twitter. “Prosecutors in most white collar criminal investigations do that. It’s not ‘inappropriate’ or even unusual. Anyone who claims otherwise has no idea what they’re talking about.”
The letter from the Trump transition team’s lawyers to Mueller is itself (and unfortunately for Team Trump) quite revealing, as Twitter user @HoarseWhisperere points out:
Settle in, politikids. You’re going to enjoy this… I’ve read the full letter Trump transition team attorneys sent to legislators re: Mueller obtaining their emails. It has a delicious reveal.
As we now know:
- Mueller obtained ALL of the emails sent to/from Trump transition team accounts
- The Trump gang only realized this after Mueller’s team seemed to know all about their emails
- This made them quite… upset
- Their lawyers then wrote the letter in the link to congressmen complaining about just how upsetting all of this is.
Here’s the classically amusing reveal in the letter…
Earlier this year, Trump appointed the top attorney at the office responsible for providing all the electronics and email accounts the Trump transition team used.
That attorney’s name was Richard Backler.
Now, as background, Backler was a white collar criminal defense attorney before his appointment.
He helped rich criminals beat government convictions for a firm with a name you’ll find familiar.
Bracewell & Giuliani.
So, Trump appointed Backler and then Backler went and ensured Trump transition team attorneys that he would not allow his org (the GSA) to provide any of their emails to investigators.
One problem: Backler fell ill and ultimately passed away.
So, until Mueller’s crew started asking Trump aides about those emails, they had absolutely no idea Mueller had them because they thought Trump’s guy on the inside was running interference for them.
Let that one sink in.
Trump and his flunkies thought their friend at the GSA had locked their emails away *literally* in a vault no one could get to…
They thought their bodies were all buried.
As a result, Trump’s people walked into their interviews with Mueller and team with a completely false sense of confidence that he didn’t know what he already knew in spades.
They thought he was fishing. He was just reeling fish in.
Can you imagine the freakout that must have occurred in Trumpland when they realized their cleanup guy hadn’t actually done the cleanup after all?
Alllllllll of the things they thought they had buried were not only not buried; Mueller had them in writing!
While this is just conjecture, I suspect the entire Trump orbit just realized that Mueller has a trove that entirely hangs them out to dry AND brings them down for obstruction and lying to Mueller to boot.
Trump appointed a Giuliani guy to protect him from Mueller…
…and then the guy went and died just as Mueller was coming a’calling.
Trump must be losing his freaking mind…
…even more panicked: Jared Kushner.
Mueller is gonna roast them all.
Note: Trump team knew Beckler had died. They didn’t know he had failed to lock down their electronics and emails – and didn’t know GSA staff had produced them all without telling anyone.
One more note: as the letter in the link lays out, Beckler was incapacitated by August. He was hospitalized when Mueller’s crew came a’knockin’.
Axios had a pretty big get, one of the biggest so far in the Rusiagate scandal. It fuels speculation that Mueller’s prosecutors and the FBI are about to make a very big move — one which not even an attempt to fire Mueller will undo.
Sit tight, politics fans. Something tells me this is going to be an action-packed week, and Mueller Claus may deliver gifts before the 25th…