A new prosecutor signals that Mueller is far from finished
The digital director of the Trump campaign said Friday that the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and son Eric Trump "were joint deputy campaign managers" whose "approval" was required for every decision before the 2016 election.
"Nobody else. Not one person made a decision without their approval," the digital director, Brad Parscale, tweeted. "Others just took credit for this family's amazing ability. I'm done with all these lies. They will be embarrassed!"
Kushner was Parscale's "patron," according to a person familiar with the campaign's inner workings, which could explain their closeness.
Kushner got Parscale hired, the person said, "despite the fact that a number of people in the campaign wondered whether he had any idea what he was doing."
"He's Jared's boy," the person added. "I had [campaign] deputies telling me they couldn't question anything the guy did or said, and they were unhappy about that."
In recent days, an explosive new book about the Trump campaign and the president's first year in the White House has rocked the administration. The book, Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury," features the former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon lambasting Trump and members of his family.
But Parscale's tweet also raises new questions about how involved Kushner and Eric Trump were in episodes that have drawn the most scrutiny from investigators probing the campaign's ties to Russia.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has added a veteran cyber prosecutor to his team, filling what has long been a gap in expertise and potentially signaling a recent focus on computer crimes.
Ryan K. Dickey was assigned to Mueller’s team in early November from the Justice Department’s computer crime and intellectual-property section, said a spokesman for the special counsel’s office. He joined 16 other lawyers who are highly respected by their peers but who have come under fire from Republicans wary of some of their political contributions to Democrats.
[As Mueller builds his Russia special-counsel team, every hire is under scrutiny]
Dickey’s addition is particularly notable because he is the first publicly known member of the team specializing solely in cyber issues. The others’ expertise is mainly in a variety of white-collar crimes, including fraud, money laundering and public corruption, though Mueller also has appellate specialists and one of the government’s foremost experts in criminal law.
Mueller’s work has long had an important cybersecurity component — central to the probe is Russia’s hacking of Democrats’ emails in an effort to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system and help Trump win. The original FBI counterintelligence probe was launched in part because a Trump campaign adviser was said to have told an Australian diplomat that Russia had emails that could embarrass Democrats, and in July 2016, private Democratic messages thought to have been hacked by Russia began appearing online.
Mueller also is in possession of information from Facebook about politically themed advertisements bought through Russian accounts.
Legal analysts have said that one charge Mueller might pursue would be a conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, if he can demonstrate that members of Trump’s team conspired in Russia’s hacking effort to influence the election.