Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump transition accuses Mueller of improperly obtaining emails

Trump transition accuses Mueller of improperly obtaining emails

According to the letter, the Mueller investigation requested, in a pair of August letters, "the emails, laptops, cell phones, and other materials" for nine transition team members working on "national security and policy matters" and four other "senior" transition team members.

In a seven-page letter sent to congressional committee leaders on Saturday, a lawyer for the Trump campaign, Kory Langhofer, wrote, "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 argued that, while such transition teams are involved in executive functions, they are considered private, non-profit organizations whose records are private and not subject to presidential records laws.

Langhofer claims former GSA counsel Richard Beckler assured the transition team in June that the emails were not owned or controlled by the GSA.

The transition lawyer is asking the members of Congress to act to protect future presidential transitions from having "private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives". A copy of the letter was viewed by the AP.

Loewentritt read to BuzzFeed News a series of agreements that anyone had to agree to when using GSA materials during the transition, including that there could be monitoring and auditing of devices and that, "Therefore, no expectation of privacy can be assumed".

The documents were provided to Mueller's team by the GSA in September in response to requests from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the transition wasn't informed at the time, according to people familiar with the transition organization.

A GSA official present for the conversation told Buzzfeed News there was nothing improper about the disclosure of the emails to Mr Mueller's team.

Trump for America alleges that Mueller acquired private records without a warrant or subpoena. (EPA) President Trump being sworn in.

"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 said.

The complaint on behalf of the Trump transition team suggests that the organization is preparing to challenge the origin of material that could shed light on contacts and discussions involving former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and others.

She stated that if Trump does indeed fire Mueller during the middle of his investigation of Russian election meddling and potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, that it would create a constitutional crisis.

Mr Trump on USA election night.

Flynn attorney, Robert Kelner, declined to comment.

"The materials produced by the GSA to the Special Counsel's Office therefore included materials protected by the attorney-client privilege, the deliberative process privilege, and the presidential communications privilege", the letter maintains.

Details of the letter and the allegations from the transition organ known as Trump for America were first reported by Reuters.

There was no immediate reply Saturday to a request for comment from Mueller's office.

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