Trump transition lawyer: Mueller improperly obtained documents in Russia probe
Exclusive — A lawyer for the Trump presidential transition team is accusing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office of inappropriately obtaining transition documents as part of its Russia probe, including confidential attorney-client communications, privileged communications and thousands of emails without their knowledge.
In a letter obtained by Fox News and sent to House and Senate committees on Saturday, the transition team’s attorney alleges “unlawful conduct” by the career staff at the General Services Administration in handing over transition documents to the special counsel’s office.
The transition legal team argues the GSA “did not own or control the records in question” and the release of documents could be a violation of the 4th Amendment – which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Kory Langhofer, the counsel to Trump for America, wrote in Saturday’s letter that the GSA handed over “tens of thousands of emails” to Mueller’s probe without “any notice” to the transition.
The attorney said they discovered the “unauthorized disclosures” by the GSA on December 12th and 13th and raised concerns with the special counsel’s office.
“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 writes.
The transition attorney said the special counsel’s office also received laptops, cell phones and at least one iPad from the GSA.
Trump for America is the nonprofit organization that facilitated the transition between former President Barack Obama to President Trump.
The GSA, an agency of the United States government, provided the transition team with office space and hosted its email servers.
“We continue to cooperate fully with the special counsel and expect this process to wrap up soon,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Saturday.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment Saturday.
Langhofer wrote that some of the records obtained by the special counsel’s office from the GSA “have been leaked to the press by unknown persons.”
The transition lawyer also argued the actions “impair the ability of future presidential transition teams to candidly discuss policy and internal matters that benefit the country as a whole.”
Langhofer requests in the letter that Congress “act immediately to protect future presidential transitions from having their private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives.”
The letter was sent to the Senate Homeland Security and House Oversight Committees.
The committees did not immediately return a request for comment.
Fox News’ Joseph Weber and Jennifer Bowman contributed to this report.