Does One of Mueller’s Prosecutors Have a Personal Animus Against Paul Manafort?
I’ve made no secret of my belief that Robert Mueller has created more of a hit squad than an investigatory team. I’ve never had it explained to my satisfaction why, in a nation awash in lawyers, that Mueller has assembled a team which consists, in its majority, Democrat donors and partisans. Primary among those is Mueller’s deputy, a guy named Andrew Weissman. Weissman is a civil service employee in the upper ranks of Department of Justice. He was at Hillary Clinton’s “victory” party on the night of November 8, 2016. He praised Sally Yates for refusing to do her duty under the Constitution and defend President Trump’s travel executive order in court.
Weissman also has a history of being willing to prosecute people on scant evidence and bullsh** legal theories, letting them rot in jail as their appeals run their course, then seeing the freed but ruined professionally and financially.
The backstory: Defense attorneys say Mr. Weissmann bent or broke the rules. As proof, they point to appeals court decisions, exhibits and witness statements.
They say he intimidated witnesses by threatening indictments, created crimes that did not exist and, in one case, withheld evidence that could have aided the accused. At one hearing, an incredulous district court judge looked down at an Enron defendant and told him he was pleading guilty to a wire fraud crime that did not exist.
“Weissmann seemed more interested in obtaining convictions than in promoting justice,” said Tom Kirkendall, a Houston lawyer who represented an Enron executive.
Said Mr. Cogdell, a colorful courtroom performer dubbed a “gunslinger” by the local press, “He’s the most aggressive prosecutor I’ve ever been up against. He is, if not win at all cost, he’s win at almost any cost.”
Those convictions for which Mr. Wray offered praise in 2004?
Mr. Weissmann’s cases against Andersen and Merrill Lynch lay in shambles just a few years later.
The Supreme Court, in a 9-0 vote in 2005, overturned the Andersen conviction. A year later, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals erased all the fraud convictions against four Merrill Lynch managers. The jury had acquitted another defendant.
“People went off to prison for a completely phantom of a case,” said Mr. Kirkendall.
Keep this in mind as we go further into the story.
Late last week, it was revealed that in April, Weissman met with representatives of the media. Apparently, the meeting was conducted outside the usual channels of press officer coordination which meant it wasn’t part of the usual record of media contacts that every agency maintains. This was revealed in the document of surrender agreed to by Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray after their failed meeting with Paul Ryan.
Now we have the answer.
A senior Justice Department prosecutor in Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel office held a meeting with Associated Press journalists last spring to discuss an investigation into Paul Manafort’s financial record, a day before the wire service published a major expose disclosing alleged money laundering made by the former and now embattled Trump campaign chairman.
Federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, now a senior attorney in the special counsel’s office, met with AP journalists on April 11 after reporters informed him of their own investigation into Manafort’s dealings with Ukrainian officials. The reporters had reached out to Weissman on a different story earlier in the year and it was during that conversation, that the AP team told Weissmann of their investigation into Manafort, stated the sources. The AP published the explosive expose on April 12, a day after their meeting with Weissmann.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, the reporters had promised to share documents and other information gleaned from the own investigation with the Justice Department.
Now this look at the denial.
Sources said Weissmann, had notified his superiors about the arranged meeting with the AP and at the time of the meeting he was not assigned to the Manafort probe and had no knowledge of the state of the investigation. Weissmann didn’t have access to grand jury materials, didn’t have access to reports and his role was solely to facilitate the meeting because the AP reached out to him, the officials added.
The officials noted that no commitment was made to assist the reporters with their investigation into Manafort’s life or activity.
Most of this is utter bullsh** as Mueller wasn’t appointed until May 17. BUT AP reporters don’t meet with the head of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section for funsies. And a senior official doesn’t take a meeting on the day before a major story runs for sh**s and grins. It doesn’t work that way. AP obviously had information they wanted corroborated by Justice. Weissman didn’t have to meet with them but he did. Now you have to ask yourself, why? According to the stories there was no open investigation into Manafort. So what could he possibly contribute that a press officer couldn’t. Perhaps the AP, animated by civic spirit, decided to just give Weissman all their source material. Perhaps they flew there on broomsticks, too. I’d rate both options just as likely.
Then you have to ask why Weissman made the jump to Mueller’s team? Did him having AP’s source material represent his buy-in to get on a high profile investigation that could offer him the satisfaction of a bit of payback after sitting in the “victory celebration,” shell-shocked and dumbfounded, as the election was called for Donald Trump?
And you have to ask about the raid on Manafort’s home:
Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet.
By the way, this is the kind of juvenile dick-measuring stuff that gets people killed. If someone comes into my home early morning they’re going to catch a 60-lb terrier mix and several loads of 00 buckshot. It is the kind of thing only the smallest, most inconsequential of men would ever conceive of doing.
And you saw Weissman try to get Manafort’s bond revoked for editing an op-ed.
Weissman’s history of legalized thuggery, his obvious and egregious partisanship, his collaboration with AP on their investigative work on Paul Manafort, and the abusive way Weissman has gone after Manafort all reeks of a personal animus. One hopes that eventually there will be enough heat on Rosenstein that he’ll remember who the boss is and impose some type of discipline on Mueller posse. But I’m not counting on it.
You don’t have to like Manafort or even think he shouldn’t be in jail to be offended at the behavior of people who are empowered to kill you, or jail you, or take away your property and livelihood who act like they are getting sexual gratification from abusing their authority.
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