Trump transition team ordered to preserve Russia-related materials

Trump transition team ordered to preserve Russia-related materials
© Greg Nash

Former Trump transition team members on Thursday were ordered to save any materials related to the ongoing investigations into Russia's efforts to disrupt and influence the 2016 presidential election, according to multiple reports.

In a memo provided to Politico and The New York Times, transition team lawyer Kory Langhofer ordered team members to "preserve any physical and electronic records that may be related in any way to the subject matter of the pending investigations."

Those records reportedly include any material related to Russia or Ukraine, as well as information on certain members of President Trump's election campaign, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former foreign policy adviser Carter Page and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

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Roger Stone, a longtime confidante and informal adviser to Trump, was also listed in the memo, though he was not a formal member of the transition team or the campaign.

Transition officials were also told to hold onto materials or records related to overseas travel by team members.

The preservation order came after Vice President Pence's decision on Thursday to retain lawyer Richard Cullen as outside counsel to help him with the law enforcement and congressional probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The order is also a sign that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is accelerating and expanding. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Mueller had begun probing the business dealings of Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and one of his closest advisers.

Trump has frequently assailed the investigation as a "witch hunt." He railed against the probe on Twitter Thursday, saying it was being "led by some very bad and conflicted people."

The head of Trump's campaign committee Michael Glassner also ordered staffers and vendors to hold onto "any and all documents in your possession, custody or control that relate in any way to your work on or for the committee," according to Bloomberg.

The committee has also hired the law firm Jones Day to help it navigate the special counsel and congressional investigations into Russian election meddling, though Glassner said he was "confident there was no wrongdoing" on the part of the campaign.