Trump tower
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I kind of like Marcy Wheeler’s take on the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization and the speculation that this may cross Trump’s red line and prompt his firing.

BREAKING: Robert Mueller would be f*cking stupid if he weren’t subpoenaing this information.

First, of all, we know that in the late part of last year, Mueller was locking in testimony from everyone involved in the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, and he subsequently recalled at least one of the participants back for seconds. We know there’s good reason to believe the public story the participants are telling about the meeting doesn’t make sense, and that they may be hiding a second part of the meeting. We know Mueller is examining Trump’s relationship with the Agalarovs, in particular. We know from what Sam Nunberg has told us he was asked about the Miss Universe contest. From his subpoena, we know that Mueller is dating his investigative scope from the time, in 2015, when Trump was considering yet another Moscow Trump Tower deal. Several key witnesses, notably Don Jr and Rhona Graff were interviewed as Trump Organization employees, represented by Abe Fortefas.

All of this pertains to Trump’s business! And it is common practice among prosecutors, especially prosecutors dealing with shifty types, to first ask for voluntary production, and then subpoena it. It would be stupid of Mueller to not do the same here.

Robert Mueller is not stupid. Therefore it is not BREAKING news that he is subpoenaing this information…

On the other hand, just having it verified that Mueller “has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia,” is definitely newsworthy. And while Marcy correctly notes that Trump’s supposed red line wasn’t really all that red in the first place, and that he acknowledged that some of his business dealings could be relevant to the investigation, it’s still true that a guilty person is most likely to lash out when they feel the prosecutors closing in.

We don’t know the scope of Mueller’s subpoenas, but if he’s asking for anything related to Russia in some defined time frame, it could open up a lot of avenues for new inquiries. Trump must be at least tempted to do whatever he can to shut this down.

So, while it shouldn’t be surprising that Mueller is poking around the Trump Organization, it could still instigate some kind of response from the president. And he’s feeling unshackled and emboldened at the moment, and it doesn’t look like he has many people around him anymore who are willing to give him hard advice or threaten to resign if he wouldn’t listen to reason.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at