Trump’s Cracked Legal Team Has an Email Problem

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Trump Maladministration

The Mueller investigation obtained tens of thousands of emails of the Trump transition team, and Trump’s lawyers claimed these were obtained “illegally.” The most important thing to keep in mind is what Josh Marshall says about this:

Behind the new faux controversy over Mueller getting Trump transition emails is a key and probably too little discussed aspect of the Russia story: Mueller’s team has some of the most accomplished and aggressive prosecutors and legal minds of their generation. They’re facing off against a team of has-beens, 3rd or 4th rate lawyers and in some cases simple incompetents. Why? Because Trump values sycophancy above competence and because none of the top lawyers were willing to work for him.

Chris Geidner did some good reporting on this at Buzzfeed:

Specifically, the General Services Administration (GSA) turned over emails written during the transition — the period between Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017 — and the Trump campaign is claiming in a letter that the decision to do so violated the law.

Officials with both the Special Counsel’s Office and GSA, however, pushed back against the Trump campaign lawyer’s claims in the hours after the letter was issued. …

The GSA — which is responsible under law for providing the presidential transition with office space, supplies like phones and laptops, and “ptt.gov” emails — was instructed after the transition had ended and President Trump had taken office to preserve records from the transition in connection with ongoing investigations.

Further, the Buzzfeed article says, the Trump transition team was told up front that they had no expectation of privacy regarding the emails or any materials being kept at the GSA. Trump’s lawyer is saying they had an agreement with former GSA general Richard Beckler that nothing at the GSA would be turned over to anyone without the Trump team being notified. But Beckler died in September, and there seems to be no official record of any such agreement.

Also:

In response to Langhofer’s claim that some of the emails could be “susceptible to privilege claims,” Georgetown University national security law professor Phillip Carter tweeted that there was no “legal privilege” that applied in this case. “Just putting a ‘privilege’ legend on something, or asserting the privilege in a letter after the fact, doesn’t make it so.”

Also:

Mueller’s office dismissed Langhofer’s claim late Saturday. “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,” spokesman Peter Carr said in a rare public statement.

Does anyone think that Mueller doesn’t make certain all Ts were crossed and Is dotted before doing anything on this case? And does anyone think the Trump lawyers aren’t in way over their heads?

We don’t know if there’s anything actually incriminating in the emails. It appears Trump’s lawyers are using this to just discredit Mueller. Seems kind of desperate to me.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 17, 2017 @11:56 pm

     tRUMP can't use his favorite law firm, Dewey, Bilkem & Howe, because their specialty is finding ways of getting poor, old, sick, and/or minority renters out of NY's rent-controlled apartments, so that when they're all out, TRUMP can start turning those units into condo's, which will net him many millions of dollars.

    That's been his business model for most of his adult life.

    And though he claims Mueller and his team are casting aspersions and making-up stuff about him and his connections with Russia, the legal outfit he uses to sue media people who don't flatter him in their pieces, the lawfirm of DeFame, Nock & Samear, is too busy trying to counter-sue the women who claim he sexually harassed them. 

    As for the rest of his sycophantic lawyers, they know in the their tiny cold hearts that Mueller, unlike them, couldn't possibly make a mistake like the one he's accused of.

    But now, how to convine President t-RUMPLE-THIN-skin of that fact without making him irrationally angry?

    Oh well, they figure, we'll have to try.

    And when we fail, after least he can't behead us for it.

    At least not yet…

      

  2. Swami  •  Dec 18, 2017 @12:07 am

     And does anyone think the Trump lawyers aren’t in way over their heads?

    Over Twenty years ago I used to see Jay Sekulow on the 700 club championing prayer in school. The rubes would send in their dollars thinking that they had a modern day David that was going to restore prayer in school.. In retrospect it looks like he didn't advance their cause for the money they put out. Although Sekulow made millions fleecing the rubes. Seklow was only clever enough to develop a particular Christian niche in selling his snake oil. But Trump, in hiring Sekulow is purchasing blind devotion on somebody else's dime. It's  win win for Trump even if he loses.

     I guess he's now moved on to scoop up some of that easy GOP donor money. It's mana from heaven! He's a glorified ambulance chaser who preys upon the simple minded.

  3. Tom_b  •  Dec 18, 2017 @12:26 am

    Of course no competent person would work for the imbecile; the best he can manage are has-been generals who seem almost housebroken compared to the Orange one.

    The fact that Trump’s “crack” legal team is whining in public means they have no legal argument to keep the emails away from Mueller. As you said, however Mueller got them, it was a legitimate legal process. 

    Public opinion does not matter here one bit. If Trump fires Mueller, that’s instant obstruction of justice; he’s got several Trump lieutenants already in custody. If the sniveling pissants in Congress try, they will soon discover that Mueller will find an endless stream of external funding sources, whether from “go fund me”, or from Fortune 500 companies desperate to see someone mentally competent enough in the White House to not leave the planet a charred ball of radioactive fallout. Not many customers out there if all the survivors are huddled in civil defense shelters.

  4. bernie  •  Dec 18, 2017 @10:33 am

    The ground war seems to be going poorly for Trump on three fronts.  His twitter front is failing, due to his failed credibility.  Who even attends to his denials? The base follows and believes you say.  Well the base is generally becoming known as the local buffoons who thought their fortune could be made in raising emus.  These are not the ground troops you want.  On the legal team front I have little to add that has not already been covered in previous, astute discourse and comments. On the attack the attacker front, he could only mobilize Fox news, while Muller defenders from both parties dominated the other Sunday news shows with more credible credentials and trustworthy guests and pundits.  His attack of the FBI front seems to be stuck in the mud throwing stage.

    He will continue to be favored by his base, who are the dwindling numbers that are now those easily tagged as the some of the people that can be fooled all of the time.  As  Secretary of State Schultz said during the Iran-Contra hearings, "Trust is the Coin of the Realm" and right he was.  This is a new form of bankruptcy for Trump, as you cannot borrow trust secretly from the Russians.  

  5. Doug  •  Dec 18, 2017 @1:07 pm

    Trump was/is a fan Norman Vincent Peale Peale – "The Power of Positive Thinking". The Trumps went to Peale's church in NY. The idea that reality will become what you visualize is great stuff in real estate in NY – particularly if you have no scruples. It works great on "reality" TV.

    Trump is trying to apply this to the presidency. His followers are applying the method – with grim determination refusing to accept the evidence of Russian connections to the campaign or the intent of Russia to support Trump's election thru targeted fake news in social media.

    The strategy of denying objective facts is working within the echo chamber of Fox news and trump fans. Polls show that conservative-leaning independents are not buying it. We are settling into a 2-to-1 disapproval rating for Trump and I predict that the results of the investigation won't budge the polls even if Mueller has a picture of Trump performing fellatio on Putin. (Wll that get past the twit filter?)

    Like lemmings who have to choose between drowning in a river or running off a cliff, the GOP can't decide if they want to embrace Trump or impeach him. Trump's poll numbers show he's underwater almost 2 to 1 BUT most of the fanatic voters who approve of Trump are  registered republicans.

    More succinctly, If you are a republican in Congress and you oppose Trump, you will lose in the primary. If you are a republican and you support Trump, you will lose in the general. That's pretty much what the demographics say.

    Krugman speculated that the reason the GOP will pass an unpopular tax cut bill is because many anticipate they will lose next year – rewarding big business guarantees a lucrative job as a lobbyist while opposing the tax cut would mean an electoral loss in 2018 means the congress-critter has to find gainful employment.

  6. Doug  •  Dec 18, 2017 @3:12 pm

    One other thought – In the form of a multiple choice question.

    Do you think Trump's lawyers are mostly concerned with:

    A. Justice regardless of the consequences

    B. Representing Trump for the best possible outcome

    C. Making as much money as possible from Trump's problem

     

    If you picked "C" then the strategy we will see is different from what "A" or "B" would be. They may be telling Trump what he wants to hear and promising Trump exactly the result his delusions tell him should happen.  Forcing Trump to behave might be impossible for his lawyers and the ones who have agreed to take his money may let Trump hang in the breeze after they've milked it for all they can get.

     

  7. Swami  •  Dec 18, 2017 @9:20 pm

    Doug,  The answer is C. You might remember the old quote from Ben Franklin…"A fool and his donor's money soon parted."

  8. aj  •  Dec 19, 2017 @9:27 am

    trial in the press not the court, another yap yap distraction..

    not private, not owned, no exec privilege before inauguration.

    They are about as privileged as Don Jr.,s conversations with Daddy.

    Loved the spider dance Maha

  9. bernie  •  Dec 19, 2017 @10:42 am

    I pick C Doug.  You need those billable hours.  A few fake A and B just for effect.  With these guys it is all about the money.  It occurred to me when reading Krugman this morning that the last minute tax bill change benefiting Trump and Corker on real estate may be more than that.  It could also benefit Russian Oligarchs who have parked money in US real estate.  Proof would take connecting many more dots, but with this rush job, time we do not have.  So borrow a Trillion and a Half and send a big chunk to Russian Oligarchs.  Now that is a little tit for tat.  Fits their mode of operation but otherwise speculative for sure.  So C Doug final answer.

  10. Swami  •  Dec 19, 2017 @6:14 pm

    It's starting to look like Trump is going to blow up the investigation. I guess it makes sense in the fact that rather than remain passive and risk legal jeopardy he'd be better off to quash the investigation and take his chances with impeachment. And seeing how the repug's are so bent on protecting him he stands a very good chance of walking away with a big big victory.

    He'll be able shout it all down as a political which hunt sponsored by the deep state. Trump has had so much success in beating down any opposition that the idea that he can pull it off becomes extremely plausible.. and not some paranoid fear.

    The logic is.. why wait to be taken down when there is an option to avoid being taken down? Even if it's risky.



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