Fact check: did Robert Mueller serve Donald Trump with a subpoena just before his racist speech?

For the past few days a story has been circulating which asserts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller served a subpoena to Donald Trump, and hypothesizes that Trump’s pro-white supremacist speech on Tuesday was a result of that subpoena. Although Palmer Report has not touched on this storyline, we’ve received numerous inquiries about it. So here’s our Fact Check when it comes to the origin of the claim and the circumstances surrounding it.


This one turns out to be easy to trace. The claim originated with Pesach Pace Lattin‏, who identifies himself as a former cybercop and government hacker. On Tuesday he tweeted “Source in WH has told me that Trump Co and Trump as CEO, has been served with subpoenas yesterday by Mueller and he is furious” (link). From there, various social media users have theorized that Trump’s infamous speech on Tuesday was either an angry and unhinged reaction to the subpoena, or a calculated attempt at creating a distraction in case word of the subpoena leaked to the media.


As for the facts of the matter, Mueller can send a subpoena to Donald Trump if he so chooses, as long as a judge signs off on it. And we do know that Mueller has reached the stage of his investigation where he is putting things before a judge, as evidenced by the no-knock warrant he obtained to search Paul Manafort’s home. And while the Special Counsel’s office doesn’t appear to be leaking anything, it’s entirely feasible that word of the Trump subpoena could have leaked out from Trump’s own White House.


Because this is a single-sourced story involving anonymous inside sourcing, it’s impossible to independently verify this. There is also no specific evidence to disprove it. So we can’t put a “True” or “False” rating on this. As is typical in these types of stories, it comes down solely to how much you trust Lattin’s sourcing based on his overall track record.


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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

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