So much for Robert Mueller pulling his punches. After a week of media hype about the possibility that Donald Trump might try to fire him, Mueller ended the week with a bang. He leaked that he’s been sitting on fifty thousand emails which incriminate any number of Trump’s advisers. When Trump’s attorneys complained about the manner in which Mueller acquired the emails, he fired back, making a point of using the word “criminal” twice.
The emails in question, which are from the Trump transition team, likely incriminate half a dozen or more of Trump’s people, up to and perhaps including Mike Pence. The implication was clear enough: if Trump tries to fire Mueller, then Mueller will use these emails to arrest Trump’s own people before Trump can complete the multi-step process of getting him fired. That was enough to prompt Trump’s White House to quickly issue a statement confirming that Trump won’t be firing Mueller, but it wasn’t enough to silence Trump’s attorneys – so Mueller took another shot.
Trump’s legal team made the baseless claim that Mueller improperly acquired the emails by getting them from the General Services Administration, because some of the emails were supposedly privileged. However, legal experts wasted no time pointing out the invalid nature of that argument. Mueller made the unusual move of putting out a statement through his spokesman. Not only did Mueller defend the legality of his actions, he also took a pointed warning shot at Trump’s people, reminding them what he has on them.
Robert Mueller’s spokesman said “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process” (link). There are only two sentences that truly matter in that sentence, and they’re both “criminal.” Mueller is reminding Trump’s people that if they can’t stop Trump from trying to fire him, he’s holding more evidence against them than they know.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report