One of the big stories breaking today, other than Anthony Scaramucci’s firing, is that the Republican National Committee has asked its staff to preserve all documents related to the 2016 election campaign. The request was made via a memo sent out to staff on Friday, July 28.
“Given the important role that the RNC plays in national elections and the potentially expansive scope of the inquiries and investigations, it is possible that we will be contacted with requests for information. Therefore, we must preserve all documents potentially relevant to these matters until they are resolved or until we are informed by all necessary parties that preservation is no longer necessary,” read the memo sent from the RNC counsel’s office.
The memo then goes on to claim that the RNC “has not been contacted regarding any of the ongoing investigations, and there is no specific reason to believe we will be. Nonetheless, we have an obligation to keep potentially relevant documents. This is standard procedure for any organization that may be in a position to provide helpful or otherwise relevant information to litigants or investigators. Serious consequences will result for anyone who fails to comply with this obligation.”
While Republicans and political pundits in Trump’s corner seem to be writing this off only as a precautionary measure, it’s very likely that there is more to the story than immediately meets the eye. Even though the RNC counsel’s office specifically states that the RNC has not been contacted about any investigation, there would be no other reason to put out such a memo to staff unless they caught wind of something. This request by the RNC to its staffers, amounts to a litigation or legal hold.
A legal hold is a process that an organization uses to preserve all forms of relevant information when litigation is reasonably anticipated, and the only reason they would anticipate such litigation –or at least for subpoenas to begin being issued– would be if they or those within the party are in some way complicit.
They have denied that the “RNC” has been contacted, but the RNC is like a corporation, a separate artificial entity. The statement thus does not mean that individuals within the RNC have not been contacted by investigators themselves. Basically they’ve used legal jargon in order to deflect attention away from the RNC while still requesting the legal hold on all documents related to last year’s election.
To sum things up, it appears as if the Mueller investigation has spread its wings quite far to include other influential individuals within the Republican party. Further details will likely emerge in the days and weeks ahead.