How Robert Mueller managed to protect his Trump-Russia probe from leaks

Via:  flynavy1  •  11 months ago  •  16 comments

How Robert Mueller managed to protect his Trump-Russia probe from leaks
“By keeping to their code of silence, they were professionals,”

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) – When members of Special Counsel Robert  Mueller ‘s team investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election have arrived for work each day, they have placed their mobile phones in a locker outside of their office suite before entering.

Operating in secrecy in a nondescript glass-and-concrete office, the team of prosecutors and investigators since May 2017 has unearthed secrets that have led to bombshell char ges against several of President Donald Trump’s aides, including his former national security adviser, campaign chairman and personal lawyer, who have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury

To protect those secrets from prying ears, the whole of the office suite in southwest Washington has been designated a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), U.S. spy speak for an area that has restrictions to ensure secret information stays secure.One common restriction in SCIFs is to keep out smartphones and other electronic devices, which can be turned into covert listening devices or spy cameras. Visitors also have been required to turn these over before entering.The restrictions, while not surprising given the team was investigating whether a hostile foreign power tried to help Trump win the 2016 election and whether his campaign conspired in the effort, have not been previously reported.

Mueller  on Friday sent his report on his investigation to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, setting off a clamor from lawmakers in both Democratic and Republican parties for the document’s public release.Accounts of witnesses interviewed by the special counsel’s team, their lawyers and others familiar with the investigation reveal the lengths to which  Mueller , a former FBI director, has gone to ensure his high-profile probe safeguarded its secrets. In a city known for its leaks,  Mueller  has pulled off a rare feat. He has kept a tight lid on both his office and the evidence he was amassing in his highly sensitive investigation that has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency. And he did it even as Trump relentlessly criticized him, calling the probe a “witch hunt” and the special counsel’s team “thugs.”

The adviser and the Dodge Charger

When former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo agreed to an interview with  Mueller  in May 2018, he was told he would be picked up at the hotel where he was staying in Washington. On the lookout for a black government SUV, Caputo and his lawyer were surprised when an FBI agent drove up in his personal car, a white Dodge Charger.

“Then he drove us 15 blocks to their location and we went in through the garage so that nobody would see,” Caputo said in an interview.

Caputo was questioned about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort’s aide Rick Gates and longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. When the interview was over,  Mueller ‘s team told him they would take him back to his hotel. Caputo said  Mueller ‘s team was not happy with what he said next. “I said I’m meeting a TV crew downstairs so I won’t need a ride,” Caputo said. “They weren’t upset that I was talking to the media, they were disturbed that I was doing it in (front of) the office."  “They were concerned … that would put their agents and attorneys at risk,” Caputo said, adding that he agreed to meet the news crew at a different location nearby. Former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg said an FBI agent picked him up at the train station to take him to the office.  “You put your phone and any electronic devices and leave them in a compartment out front,” Nunberg added. “It was a very plain office.”

Nunberg said he went into a conference room with three tables, and prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, a member of  Mueller ‘s team, came in with three FBI agents, one female and two males.The office’s location was not publicly revealed but was discovered by journalists. Still, it has not been widely publicized.  Mueller ‘s team has asked media outlets not to publish the exact location for security purposes.  “We are working in a secure location in Southwest DC,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for  Mueller , has said.

Staying out of the news

“In a town where everybody and their mother is trying to get on the front page, Bob  Mueller  was always trying to stay out of the news,” said Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department spokesman. “He wanted to be judged on actions, not press conferences.”  Corallo, who was briefly a spokesman for Trump’s legal team, was interviewed by  Mueller ‘s team in February 2018.

Corallo and other witnesses summoned for interviews by  Mueller ‘s team said they were picked up from their lawyers’ offices and taken to a secure parking garage in the building in southwest Washington. The team’s office suite was anonymous with no plaque on the door to identify its occupants, said Washington lawyer A. Joseph Jay, who represented a witness he declined to identify. More than once, Jay recalled, members of  Mueller ‘s team expressed their commitment to confidentiality. “They made it clear on a number of occasions, ‘We don’t leak. You don’t have to worry about that with us.'”

“By keeping to their code of silence, they were professionals,” Jay said. “They weren’t reacting to the spin. They were doing their jobs. They spoke through a number of indictments. They spoke through a number of sentencing memos.”

Mueller  has remained silent throughout the investigation and his office has issued only one statement. In that statement, issued this past January, spokesman Carr labeled as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed News account describing evidence collected by the special counsel that allegedly showed that Trump had directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. BuzzFeed has stood by its story.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, himself a former federal prosecutor, also remarked on  Mueller  staying out of sight. “Whenever we talk to them, they say, ‘We’ll take it to Bob.’ He’s like the Wizard of Oz,” Giuliani said.  Giuliani said although he was suspicious of leaks to the news media, he acknowledged he knew of none for sure from the special counsel’s team and that nothing he told  Mueller ‘s office was leaked.  “ Mueller  doesn’t talk to us. I don’t know why he’d talk to the press,” the former New York mayor added.

Joseph Campbell, a former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who worked at the agency when  Mueller  headed it, said the special counsel knows how to handle sensitive investigations and ignores the attacks on him. “He went through 12 years starting with 9/11 of extremely critical and sensitive investigations around the world,” said Campbell, referring to the 2001 attacks on the United States. “This is right in his wheelhouse.”  “He is not affected by external criticism or speculation,” Campbell added.

Robert Litt, former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said any leaks about the investigation appeared to have come from witnesses or their lawyers. “There’s nothing he can do about that,” Litt said, referring to  Mueller .  Litt said  Mueller , the 74-year-old former U.S. Marine Corps officer and architect of the modern FBI, probably “cares little about the public perception of him.”  “He cares,” Litt said, “about doing the job right.”



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1  seeder  FLYNAVY1    11 months ago

Like or hate how things on the Muller investigation turn out, at the very least you have to applaud the man and his team on the level of professionalism they maintained.

The team undertook a tough job with people screaming at them from all sides in a town known for leaks.  Well done. 

Sparty On
1.1  Sparty On  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1    11 months ago

Yep, absolutely!

It Is ME
2  It Is ME    11 months ago

"How Robert Mueller managed to protect his Trump-Russia probe from leaks"


At least that's what I've read anyway !

The People's Fish
3  The People's Fish    11 months ago

There were a plethora of leaks from this investigation. Not sure what world this author was living in.

3.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  The People's Fish @3    11 months ago

Think I didn't researched this point prior to posting this seed?  The leaks that came out were from the people that they questioned, when they talked to the press after meeting with the Muller team.  As far as I can research, there were ZERO leaks that came from inside the Muller team.  

Here... I'll even start you on the search for "Internal leaks"

Yes they got hacked:

Corsi leaked, but the Muller team didn't

Knock yourself out fish....

The People's Fish
3.1.1  The People's Fish  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1    11 months ago

I'm on in a few Fly...


  • June 3, 2017: The Associated Press revealed Mueller’s team had taken over a criminal probe of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
  • July 22, 2017: Two sources claiming direct knowledge told Reuters Mueller’s investigators were hoping to use evidence of money laundering or other financial crimes to pressure Manafort to cooperate in the collusion probe.
  • August 3, 2017: Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal reported a grand jury had been impaneled by Mueller. White House attorney Ty Cobb said at the time he was unaware of the grand jury’s existence.
  • August 9, 2017: The Washington Post reported FBI agents conducted a predawn raid of Manafort’s Virginia home on July 26 to seize documents and other materials related to Mueller’s investigation. According to the Post, people familiar with the search said a warrant sought financial records and the evidence collected included binders Manafort had prepared for his congressional testimony.
  • August 24, 2017: "A source close to the investigation" provided Fox News with new details of the raid of Manafort’s house and claimed it was “heavy-handed, designed to intimidate.”
  • August 25, 2017: "People familiar with the matter" informed the Wall Street Journal that Mueller was investigating Flynn’s involvement in a private effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s email from Russian hackers.
  • August 28, 2017: According to NBC News, three sources said Mueller’s investigators were focused on Trump’s role in writing a response to media reports about a meeting between campaign officials and Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016.
  • September 1, 2017: The Washington Post reported Mueller’s investigators had a copy of a draft letter prepared by Trump aide Stephen Miller to justify the firing of Comey in May 2017.
  • September 20, 2017: Emails reportedly turned over to Mueller’s team and Senate investigators leaked to the Washington Post revealed that Manafort offered to provide private briefings to a Russian billionaire with ties to the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign.
  • October 4, 2017: Reuters cited three "sources familiar with the investigation" saying that Mueller’s team had taken over the FBI’s inquiries into a dossier of allegations regarding Trump’s Russia ties compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. Two officials also reportedly told Reuters Mueller was looking into whether Manafort or others helped the Kremlin target hacking efforts and social media posts to influence the election.
  • October 27, 2017: "Sources briefed on the matter" told CNN that the first charges in Mueller’s investigation had been filed under seal. The following Monday, charges were unsealed Manafort and campaign aide Robert Gates, as well as a guilty plea by former adviser George Papadopoulos.
  • November 5, 2017: NBC News reported multiple sources said Mueller had enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and his son. According to NBC, the FBI was also investigating a possible effort by Flynn to extradite a Muslim cleric in the U.S. whom Turkish President Recep Erdogan blamed for a coup attempt.
  • November 16, 2017: The Wall Street Journal cited a "person familiar with the matter" reporting that Mueller's team had subpoenaed Russia-related documents from Trump's campaign, including documents and emails written by several campaign officials.
  • December 2, 2017: Multiple "people familiar with the matter" told the Washington Post that former top counterintelligence official Peter Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team because of anti-Trump texts between him and an FBI attorney with whom he was having an affair. Details of many of those texts, which were under investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General’s Office, have since been leaked to various media outlets.
  • January 2, 2018: A source detailed the physical characteristics, clothing, race, and gender of grand jury members to the New York Post and alleged that the grand jury room “looks like a Bernie Sanders rally.”
  • February 17, 2018: CNN cited anonymous sources stating that Gates was close to negotiating a plea deal with Mueller and that new charges against Manafort were being prepared. Less than a week later, Gates entered a guilty plea to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, and a superseding indictment was filed against Manafort.
  • February 27, 2018: CNN reported that three "people familiar with the matter" said Mueller had recently questioned witnesses about Trump’s business activities in Russia and negotiations surrounding a potential Trump Tower in Moscow.
  • February 28, 2018: An unnamed former Trump campaign aide told CNN Mueller’s team asked about comments former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks made during her interview with investigators about possible contacts between the campaign and Russian operatives.
  • March 2, 2018: Witnesses and others familiar with the investigation reportedly told NBC News Mueller’s team was asking questions about Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s business ties. The following week, NBC cited sources familiar with the matter saying Qatari officials withheld damaging information about the United Arab Emirates’ influence on Kushner from Mueller.
  • March 3, 2018: According to the New York Times, Mueller was looking into attempts by the United Arab Emirates to buy political influence on Trump and the role of Lebanese-American businessman George Nader.
  • March 4, 2018: Axios obtained a copy of a subpoena sent to a former Trump campaign official by Mueller’s team. Sam Nunberg later confirmed he was the source and spoke extensively to the media about the investigation.
  • March 7, 2018: "People familiar with the matter" told the Washington Post Mueller had evidence from a cooperating witnessthat a secret meeting in Seychelles between a Trump ally and a Russian official prior to inauguration was an attempt to establish a back channel between the administration and the Kremlin.
  • March 15, 2018: The New York Times reported that Mueller had subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization.
  • April 9, 2018: The New York Times learned federal investigators had raided Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s office and hotel room. Hours later, sources told the Washington Post Cohen was under investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
  • April 30, 2018: The New York Times obtained a list of questionsMueller wanted to ask Trump. According to the Times, the list was prepared by Trump’s attorneys after speaking to investigators but it was not given to reporters by Trump's legal team.
3.1.2  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  The People's Fish @3.1.1    11 months ago

That's one I posted for you.....!!!!!

Please look closely.... cause I did....None of those 25 points came from INSIDE the muller team.  Those all came from outside sources. I ask you to please keep at it, you know I admit when I wrong and will say so.

The People's Fish
3.1.3  The People's Fish  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1.2    11 months ago

Ok Fly, I am back at it. It just seems unbelievable but if i am wrong, i am wrong.

3.1.4  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  The People's Fish @3.1.3    11 months ago

If you find something, please share it.... I too was skeptical, but I looked at about 20 different sites, and I couldn't find a single instance from something that came from inside the Muller team.  Seriously.... In D.C.?  This may be a record!

That's why if this holds, I have to give the man credit, independent of how anyone feels about the report.

Take care..

3.1.5  MUVA  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1.4    11 months ago

You find out later something was leaked but for now I didn't see much either.

The People's Fish
3.1.6  The People's Fish  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1.4    11 months ago

The CNN crew being at Roger Stone's residence before the FBI was a little odd. One would think they were tipped off.

3.1.7  MUVA  replied to  The People's Fish @3.1.6    11 months ago

Fredo Cuomo of CNN  has a inside track.

3.1.8  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  MUVA @3.1.5    11 months ago

You could be absolutely right MUVA......  We may see something when books start coming out, but for now.....I'd give the Muller team a passing mark.

3.1.9  MUVA  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1.8    11 months ago

I think maybe they didn't have much to leak Trump's campaign and transition team was small compared to the normal politician's standards. 

3.1.10  WallyW  replied to  The People's Fish @3.1.3    11 months ago

Ok Fly, I am back at it. It just seems unbelievable but if i am wrong, i am wrong.

You'll live to swim another day....oh the embarrassment! jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

3.1.11  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  WallyW @3.1.10    11 months ago

Nah.... The fish is pretty detailed.  If anyone is going to be proven wrong, it will be the guy with the wings...


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