Did Special Counsel Robert Mueller violate the Trump team’s constitutional rights by improperly seizing tens of thousands of emails without their knowledge?
That’s what Kory Langhofer, the attorney for the Trump transition team, claimed in a letter to House and Senate committees on Saturday.
The General Services Administration (GSA) — which employs numerous Obama holdovers — turned over “tens of thousands of emails” to Mueller without redacting confidential attorney-client communications, Langhofer wrote in a letter posted by Politico.
Moreover, the GSA did not alert the Trump transition team that they had seized these emails before handing them over to Mueller’s team. Among them were countless emails sent and received by 13 senior Trump transition staffers, many of which were protected by attorney-client privilege, Langhofer said.
The GSA reportedly handed over a flash drive containing the emails on September 1 after receiving a request from Mueller’s team in late-August. The GSA also reportedly turned over laptops, cell phones and at least one iPad to Mueller’s team.
Unlike Hillary Clinton’s staff, the Trump team didn’t get the chance to destroy their cell phones or laptops with hammers or wipe their email servers clean with BleachBit. Why? Because unlike Hillary’s team, they were never given advance notice that their property would be seized.
The GSA had provided the Trump transition team with office space and hosted its email servers during the transition between Obama’s administration and Trump’s incoming team.
Trump’s transition attorney Kory Langhofer said he was not notified of the Mueller request or the subsequent handover of emails until after the deed was done. Typically, lawyers on both sides alert each other of such moves.
Langhofer, the counsel to President Trump’s transition team (which was called Trump for America), said the GSA “did not own or control the records in question” and therefore, turning them over to Mueller’s team of anti-Trump lawyers violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
“We understand that the special counsel’s office has subsequently made extensive use of the materials it obtained from the GSA, including materials that are susceptible to privilege claims,” Langhofer wrote.
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Peter Carr, a rep for the Special Counsel’s office, claimed they followed proper procedures. “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 told Fox News.
Meanwhile, Trump attorney Langhofer said this latest screw-up by Mueller’s investigation further undermines its shaky credibility.
“[Congress must] 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 wrote.
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