Thursday afternoon, The New York Times broke the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the Trump campaign assisted Russian operation to swing the 2016 election to the president, had issued a subpoena for the Trump Organization’s records. The subpoena reportedly “ordered the Trump Organization to hand over all records related to Russia and other topics [Mueller] is investigating.”
The president has previously implied that he could fire Mueller if the special counsel began investigating Trump’s businesses. As the Times reports, “the subpoena comes as Mr. Mueller appears to be broadening his investigation to examine the role foreign money may have played in funding Mr. Trump’s political activities,” in particular from the United Arab Emirates.
Former prosecutors and defense attorneys stressed to me that Mueller issuing a subpoena was standard for a white-collar investigation. Although the scope of the subpoena is unknown, given the breadth of Mueller’s inquiry, it was inevitable that he would look for Trump Organization records, given the possibility that doing so might provide evidence that the Trump campaign aided the Russian effort.
“I wouldn’t say it’s particularly aggressive given the scope of the investigation,” said Elkan Abramowitz, a partner at Morvillo Abramowitz who has been both a prosecutor and defense attorney in white-collar cases.