Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian contacts with President Donald Trump's campaign has gained access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, according to several people familiar with Trump's transition organization.
Why it matters: The transition emails are said to include sensitive exchanges on matters that include potential appointments, gossip about the views of particular senators involved in the confirmation process, speculation about vulnerabilities of Trump nominees, strategizing about press statements, and policy planning on everything from war to taxes.
Kory Langhofer, general counsel for Trump for America, sent a letter to two congressional committees arguing the disclosure was "unauthorised" and it considers the documents private and privileged and not government property. Numerous emails that Mueller's investigators have now include national security discussions about possible Trump worldwide aims as well as candid assessments of candidates for top government posts, said those familiar with the transition.
Marc Short, Trump's director of legislative affairs, was asked on NBC if Trump was laying the groundwork for firing Mueller and responded: "There's no conversation about that whatsoever in the White House".
The special counsel's critics have seized upon the case of Peter Strzok, a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation agent whom Mueller removed from his team for sending text messages critical of Trump.More news: We are cutting red tape to defend democracy
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There are rumors around Washington suggesting Trump's firing of Mueller is imminent. While Trump's team has insisted that former GSA general counsel Richard Beckler had assured them that they "owned and controlled" the emails, BuzzFeed wrote, Loewentritt disputed that account and Beckler has since died.
Trump's transition lawyer also took aim in its letter at GSA, which it accused of "unlawful conduct" that undermines the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, a law that spells out the procedural rules for a change in power from one president to the next. He did not name the transition officials who used the devices.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, questioned why Trump officials would be taking issue with an attempt by GSA to cooperate with investigators.
There was plenty of chatter Sunday outside the White House about whether President Trump will fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but apparently nothing of the sort on the inside. (Hint: "They're just playing politics, but this is a bad sign for them.)", added former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti on Twitter.