Top prosecutor Andrew Weissmann will leave the special counsel’s office “in the near future,” multiple outlets reported on Thursday.
The departure of Robert Mueller’s right-hand man is another indication that the special counsel is nearing the conclusion of his years-long investigation into alleged Russian interference and collusion with the Trump campaign in 2016.
Mueller team dissolving
Weissmann’s exit comes on the heels of the departure of the senior FBI agent on Mueller’s team. Special Agent in Charge David Archey will now head up the FBI office in Richmond, Virginia.
Brandon Van Grack, another top prosecutor on the special counsel team, left earlier in the month for a different position in the Justice Department.
WilmerHale, the prestigious law firm which Mueller and a few others left to form the special counsel, is preparing for the return of its former partners in the near future, sources told NPR.
Moving on to NYU
“Andrew Weissmann will be concluding his detail to the Special Counsel’s Office in the near future,” said special counsel spokesman Peter Carr in an email to Fox News.
As for the possible stint at the law school, a spokesman for NYU Law told Fox that Weissmann “has been involved with NYU Law in the past,” and further noted that the school had been “talking with him about returning to the Law School following his current commitments.”
NPR noted that Weissmann served as the lead on the Mueller’s prosecution of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort over unrelated bank and tax fraud crimes, as well as failing to properly file as a foreign lobbying agent, among other things. Manafort was recently sentenced to a total of 7.5 years in prison in two separate cases initiated or referred by the special counsel.
Both Fox and NPR pointed out that Weissmann has developed a reputation over the years as a fierce prosecutor. He has taken on several high-profile cases involving corporate fraud and organized crime, including the Enron Corp. and Gambino crime family.
However, Weissmann has also drawn criticism for his “win-at-all-costs” mindset. He has been accused of prosecutorial misconduct, such as playing fast and loose with the rules or being overly aggressive to compel cooperation and testimony from unwilling witnesses.
Weissmann’s inclusion in the purportedly “independent” Mueller investigation was also criticized by Republicans because of his political activities. Weissmann has made political donations to Democrats over the years and even attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in 2016. He also supported temporary acting attorney general Sally Yates when she publicly defied President Donald Trump. Yates was fired shortly after.