The atmosphere of the White House is reported to be tense and paranoid, as many staff members worry they are secretly being recorded. Since secret deals have come out, exposing a conspiracy against Trump, everyone is on guard that anyone might have turned.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn agreed to cooperate with investigators as part of the plea deal he reached last week, adding to the worry already inside Trump’s circle surrounding the secret deal struck earlier this summer by former campaign aide George Papadopoulos, whose cooperation was kept quiet for months before being unsealed in late October.
Both cases raise the possibility that other current or former colleagues have also flipped sides — and they’reprompting anxiety that those people could be wearing wires to secretly tape record conversations.
“Everyone is paranoid,” said a person close to Trump’s White House. “Everyone thinks they’re being recorded.”
Mueller is doing little to abate those suspicions. Tucked inside last week’s 10-page plea deal Flynn struck with government prosecutors is an agreement that the former White House national security adviser could avoid a potential lengthy jail term in part by “participating in covert law enforcement activities.”
Wiring up cooperating witnesses is a routine law enforcement tactic used hundreds — if not thousands — of times a year in criminal cases and on occasion for more complex white-collar investigations. It’s done to obtain a record of other conspirators and witnesses talking about their conduct, which can be used as confirmation when pressing for indictments and as first-hand evidence to be introduced during trial. Mueller, a former FBI director, and the team of veteran Justice Department prosecutors with which he’s surrounded himself are schooled in the benefits of the wiring technique.
White house lawyer Ty Cobb, says he is not concerned that FBI wiretapping efforts would help Mueller build the impeachment case (link to last article impeachment). If they do try to use things that are said behind closed doors, Trump’s legal team will certainly demand full transcripts are used, not just the FBI edited version that might be taken out of context.