#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor
So, Rachel Maddow is having something of a week, and in her latest scoop we might note an aspect about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation we probably don’t take enough time to appreciate:
“The ‘Documents and Responsive Materials’ covered by the request include but are not limited to”—I love this—”both in draft and final form, all emails, voicemails, documents, photos, text messages, instant messages, electronic handwritten and/or hard copy records, databases, telephone records, correspondence, transcripts, audio recordings, analyses, briefings, assessments, banner entries, user agreements, audit records, metadata, storage devices, notes, memoranda, diary and calorie entries, excuse me, calorie entries, calendar entries, visitor logs, meeting attendance records, meeting room reservations, meeting agendas, badge records records of entry or exit to any building, room or security facility, safe access records, video surveillance of public and non-public areas, and access logs, including of classified information.”
Also smoke signals, if you have any of those, any removed tattoos you’d like to submit for laser analysis, x-rays from that time you broke your thumb at the company softball game. Also, your children’s report cards dating back to birth and their sonograms. Like, this is serious, right? They are going to need it all: Preservation notice.
It ends by saying, “To the extent any of you or your staffs have relevant documents, please identify and preserve them, so we can then evaluate whether and how to provide them to the requesters.”
This memo went out on May 26th. Comey was only fired a couple of weeks before then. So this memo goes out May 26th to all these people at Justice, telling them to hand over all this stuff about Russia and about the firing of Comey. This is nine days after Mueller was named special counsel, and this is new . . . . This shows the scale of the request for documents and communications even within the Justice Department for people who may have ended up being witnesses to a potential crime that took place within the administration when the president fired his FBI director for reasons that remain in dispute and under criminal investigation.
It gives you a sense of the massive amount of stuff that Mueller and his team are hunting through in this investigation . . . . This also shows you the massive amount of stuff that has been collected by this investigation that will need to be preserved and protected somehow as evidence if, in fact, the president ends up coming for the Special Counsel’s office.
The amount of data this investigation must survey is a breathtaking prospect. In January, for instance, the Trump presidential campaign submitted 1.4 million pages in response to Special Counsel requests. The list of materials in the retention notice is not so much insane in and of itself as necessarily incomplete, and representative of, well, an insane amount of data. Badge records? Including room entry and exit? As Maddow said, “They are going to need it all.”
And then some.
Check the detail. User agreements? We might recall last year, when Trump administration staffers were reported to use a secure, confidential app in order to hide communications; the phrase, “known unknowns”, comes to mind. In addition to the data the investigation must collected and examined, prserved and protected, there is also the information that Robert Mueller does not necessarily know he needs, but, quite clearly, knows to seek.
And just imagine how big the retention order would be for a software company.
It is certainly okay to be impressed. Or terrified. It is certainly acceptable to be frightened by imagining how good at this job these investigators need to be, and the appearance that, in fact, they are.
Image note: Top — The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images) Left — Rachel Maddow. (Image via msnbc).
Day, Chad, and Mary Clare Jalonick. “Mueller questioned 20 White House employees in Russia probe”. Associated Press. 26 January 2018.
Hay Newman, Lily. “Encryption Apps Help White House Staffers Leak—and Maybe Break the Law”. Wired. 15 February 2017.
The Rachel Maddow Show. “Exclusive: DoJ letter shows scope of Mueller evidence collection”. msnbc. 11 April 2018.
Seely, Hart. “The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld”. Slate. 2 April 2003.