While the Trump inner circle has lawyered up and sought advice from criminal lawyers, it only seems appropriate that special counsel Robert Mueller would, as a result, add a prosecutor to the Trump campaign probe team who specializes in “flipping” witnesses.
According to Reuters report on Monday, “A veteran federal prosecutor recruited onto special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is known for a skill that may come in handy in the investigation of potential ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team: persuading witnesses to turn on friends, colleagues and superiors.”
Andrew Weissmann’s addition made headlines in early June, but thanks to the recent Reuters discovery, we now know his true specialty.
“Andrew Weissmann, who headed the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal fraud section before joining Mueller’s team last month, is best known for two assignments – the investigation of now-defunct energy company Enron and organized crime cases in Brooklyn, New York – that depended heavily on gaining witness cooperation,” the report continues.
Per the U.S. Department of Justice, Weissmann is an organized crime expert, who while at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, “tried more than 25 cases and was instrumental in bringing to justice high-ranking members of the Genovese, Colombo and Gambino crime families and combating the infiltration of organized crime on Wall Street.”
Weissmann was also a partner at Jenner & Block in New York for five years, and co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Practice Group, where he worked on issues such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The team already includes white-collar crime expert Jeannie Rhee, former senior counselor in the DOJ’s National Security Division specializing in cybersecurity Aaron Zebley, former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate probe James Quarles, and criminal law expert Michael Dreeben. And now, the addition of Weissmann only appears to strengthen the team even more.
The tactics typically involved in a criminal investigation tend to put pressure on the target in order to get them to talk. And if we’re being totally honest here, President Trump already talks a lot, even without any pressure and against legal advice, so the addition of Weissmann may not bode well for him.
Considering Trump is already wanting to “fire” Mueller (something he can’t actually do, btw), I imagine he can’t be too pleased about the team he is continuing to build. What do you think? With the addition of Weissmann, should he be worried?