Donald Trump’s attorneys in the Russia scandal have routinely come off as so inept that they either have no idea what they’re doing, or they’re following some legal strategy that no one on the outside understands. On Saturday we learned that they went months without realizing Robert Mueller had the Trump transition team emails all along. Now we’re learning new details which strongly suggest Trump’s lawyers may not even have their own copies of the emails in question.
Trump’s legal team initially responded to the revelation by asserting that Mueller had acquired the emails in improper fashion, because some of them may have been privileged. This strategy was largely laughed off by the legal community at large. But now Trump’s lawyers are demanding that Mueller give all of the emails back. In so doing, they may have unwittingly tipped off that they don’t have the emails themselves. It’s not as if these are printouts or physical documents; they’re digital files. Trump’s team could have easily gotten copies of these emails from the General Services Administration just like Mueller did, right? Except it sounds like maybe they never did.
We know that the Trump transition team was using ptt.gov email addresses which were served from the GSA, and they were also using GSA-issued laptops and cellphones. This creates the very realistic possibility that they turned in that equipment without making local copies of the emails for themselves, and thus never retained their own emails. Is it possible that no one on Trump’s staff or legal team ever thought to go back and get copies of those emails until now?
For the moment, there is no way to know for sure. But when you consider that the Donald Trump administration was too inept to figure out that Robert Mueller got these emails from their own GSA back in August, and Trump’s attorneys have come off like bumblers throughout, it really does sound like they just admitted they don’t even have the emails in question – and now they’re so desperate to find out what Mueller has, they’re asking him for copies.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report