In its latest effort to kick up dust over the Mueller probe, Team Trump is making a fuss over tens of thousands of emails that a federal agency turned over to Mueller’s investigators last year.
The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that lawyers for President Trump’s 2016-2017 transition team are threatening to call for an inspector general probe into the conduct of the General Services Administration (GSA), and to have some officials at the agency sanctioned by the D.C. Bar.
According to letters sent in January and last month and reviewed by the Beast, the transition team is alleging that officials at GSA, which supports the work of other federal agencies, should have notified them before turning over the emails. The team also claim Mueller’s investigators, who are probing Russian meddling in the election, failed to protect attorney-client privileged material in the emails.
Team Trump is also making hay over the fact that former FBI official Peter Strzok, who Mueller fired after discovering texts he’d exchanged with a former girlfriend disparaging Trump, was involved in obtaining the emails from GSA.
Transition team lawyer Kory Langhofer wrote that Strzok “played a larger-than-previously known role in unlawfully seizing our client’s records,” according to the Beast.
The conflict first bubbled to the surface last December when the transition team went to Congress with accusations that the GSA had promised to simply serve as custodian over their records, and instead turned over the materials improperly.
GSA deputy general counsel Lennard Loewentritt strongly denied that claim, telling BuzzFeed that the agency made no commitment to protect the records and explicitly told Trump’s team that materials “would not be held back in any law enforcement actions.”
Legal experts and former government attorneys agreed that nothing improper seemed to have transpired, noting that presidential privilege would not apply because Trump had not yet been sworn in.