The Stench of J. Edgar Hoover: How Special Counsel Mueller Breached Attorney-Client Confidentiality

Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s transition team, has accused Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI, of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of private emails during his investigation, as reported in Politico of Dec. 17. Mueller’s office obtained the records earlier this summer from the General Services Administration (GSA), the government agency charged with holding all transition materials, and used the material, according to the lawyer, “even though its prosecutors were aware some of the materials were subject to claims of attorney-client privilege and other protections.”

The General Counsel for the GSA, Richard Beckler, had ruled that those emails were private, and should remain in the hands of the GSA. But when Beckler was hospitalized, Mueller’s operatives seized the records, without receiving a court-approved subpoena. Shortly after his hospitalization, Beckler passed away.

The seizure of these documents was the subject of a biting op ed by constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley in The Hill on Dec. 18. Turley, who is no fan of Donald Trump, nevertheless correctly identified Mueller’s action as “legally unprecedented and strategically reckless,” warning that the use of “tainted” evidence could lead to the overturning of any conviction that the Special Counsel might get. Turley described this such an abuse of law as following in the footsteps of the notorious former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

“Hoover’s attitude toward the use of federal power lingers [within the FBI] like a dormant virus. Too often investigators interpret uncertain legal questions as a license for action.”

In Turley’s view, “the blunt-force approach taken toward the GSA is something of a signature of Mueller and his heavy-handed associates like Andrew Weissmann”, Mueller’s lead prosecutor. Weissman’s record includes “major reversals in past prosecutions for exceeding the scope of the criminal code or questionable ethical conduct.” Such reversals were done “at the cost of millions (and ruined lives) in failed prosecutions.”

We would add to that, that Weissmann was also responsible for the pre-dawn raid on Paul Manafort’s residence on July 26, 2017. Some 12 FBI agents picked the lock on his home and barged in with guns drawn, while he and his wife were sleeping upstairs, and then stayed for hours searching his home. Manafort, who had briefly served as Trump’s campaign manager, was later indicted by Mueller on a tax evasion charge completely unrelated to the election campaign.

Further information: Revelations of FBI Dirty Tricks Accelerate the Collapse of “Russiagate”

United States: “Russiagate” Is Rapidly Becoming “Muellergate”