Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s agreement to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller added to the paranoia enveloping the White House.
Former campaign aide George Papadopoulos flipped sides too, and now Trump’s inner-circle is worried that they might be recorded.
“Everyone is paranoid,” a person close to Trump’s White House told Politico. “Everyone thinks they’re being recorded.”
Mueller, a former FBI director, and the team of veteran Justice Department prosecutors he’s surrounded himself with are schooled in the benefits of the wiring technique.
‘I think they’d be derelict of duty if they didn’t use it,’ said Solomon Wisenberg, a former deputy on Kenneth Starr’s independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton.”
According to what White House attorneys and private counsel representing both current and former Trump aides told Politico, they immediately spoke with their clients once they learned about Mueller’s plea agreements with Papadopoulos and Flynn to ask whether they had participated in any communications with their former colleagues which could have possibly been secretly recorded. The attorneys then reminded them to avoid conversations with anyone except their lawyer related to Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“They’re probably shitting bricks,” said an attorney who represents a senior Trump aide who is caught up in the Russia investigation. “How can you not?”
Well, maybe if you aren’t doing illegal sh*t, then you don’t have to worry.
Legally, though, Mueller might not be able to wire potential witnesses unless he has written approval from a senior Justice Department official.
“Mueller is too good a professional and too good a prosecutor to tape represented individuals and he doesn’t want his office or his important mission to be tainted,” White House lawyer Ty Cobb said.
Others disagree and think that Mueller can and should wire witnesses.
“The tape recording ensures that what the jury hears of the conversation is actually what happened, as opposed to someone’s testimony as to what happened,” former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman said. When Akerman was asked about Cobb’s advice to the White House that it shouldn’t worry about colleagues wearing wires, he replied, “That’s good. Let them think that.”
Maybe Trump should tone down his tweets if his staff is paranoid. He’s not helping.
We don’t want to make the White House any more paranoid (yes, we do), but let’s hope they haven’t seen Mueller’s virtual perp walk on the Internet.
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