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 theÂ new faux controversyÂ over Mueller getting Trump transition emails is a key and probably too little discussed aspect of the Russia story: Muellerâ€™s team has some of the most accomplished and aggressive prosecutors and legal minds of their generation. Theyâ€™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 â€” the period between Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017 â€” 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 â€” which is responsible under law for providing the presidential transition with office space, supplies like phones and laptops, and “ptt.gov” emails â€” 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.
In response to Langhofer’s claim that some of the emails could be “susceptible to privilege claims,” Georgetown University national security law professor Phillip CarterÂ tweetedÂ 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, doesnâ€™t make it so.”
Muellerâ€™s office dismissed Langhoferâ€™s claim late Saturday.Â â€œWhen we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account ownerâ€™s consent or appropriate criminal process,â€ 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.