Mueller's Team Asks to Inspect Witnesses' Personal Phones - NBC New York
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Mueller's Team Asks to Inspect Witnesses' Personal Phones

Fearing a subpoena, the witnesses have complied with the request and have given over their phones, sources told CNBC

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    Mueller's Team Asks to Inspect Witnesses' Personal Phones
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images (File)
    FILE - Then-FBI director Robert Mueller speaks at the International Conference on Cyber Security on Aug. 8, 2013, in New York City.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is requesting that witnesses turn in their personal phones to inspect their encrypted messaging programs and potentially view conversations between associates linked to President Donald Trump, sources told CNBC. 

    Since as early as April, Mueller's team has been asking witnesses in the Russia probe to turn over phones for agents to examine private conversations on WhatsApp, Confide, Signal and Dust, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Fearing a subpoena, the witnesses have complied with the request and have given over their phones, the sources said.

    While it's unclear what Mueller has discovered, if anything, through this new request, investigators seem to be convinced that the apps could be a key to exposing conversations that weren't previously disclosed to them.

    A Timeline of Mueller’s Russia Investigation

    [NATL] A Timeline of Mueller’s Russia Investigation

    On May 17, 2017, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to oversee the investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign. He secured the conviction of one Trump associate, guilty pleas from several others and the indictment of Russians who allegedly interfered in the 2016 election.

    (Published Friday, March 22, 2019)

    A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.