Former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s onetime top deputy Andrew Weissmann has stepped out of the office furniture penumbras at elite international law firm Jenner & Block to perform a decided optics nightmare by fundraising and stumping for the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden.
On June 2, Weissmann will headline a virtual fundraiser for the Biden Victory Fund stylized as a “Fireside Chat.” The videoconference will be moderated by former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and participants will engage with both attorneys via Zoom.
Weissmann was the lead prosecutor on Mueller’s team and is understood to have been the operational heart and major store of force behind the years-long investigation into Russian Federation electoral interference and alleged obstruction of justice. For those reasons, he was often the cause and target of much Trumpworld ire.
His latest plans are entirely of a piece with that reputation.
“The actual person who ran the Mueller probe, Andrew Weissmann, is not just political, contra repeated media claims, but so political that he’s raising money and on the stump for Joe Biden,” noted The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway via Twitter.
“It’s no surprise that a guy who tried to take down the president through the sham impeachment would also help Joe Biden’s campaign,” Trump 2020 Communications Director Tim Murtaugh told Law&Crime via email. “It doesn’t get any swampier than this: trying to stage a partisan coup against the president and then raising money for his political opponent.”
Needless to say the paid admission Zoom conference call provides plenty of grist for one particular mill. Trump and his allies have consistently maintained the Mueller investigation was little more than a partisan inquisition that sought to de-legitimize the current administration via the auspices of the special counsel’s office.
And while Mueller and his team ultimately declined to charge the president–failing to find evidence of conspiracy between the Trump 2016 campaign and any Russian officials–the reputational damage inflicted on the 45th presidency has one major culprit in the eyes of many Republicans and conservatives.
Seeing Weissmann at the helm of an event geared towards Biden’s election essentially functions as validation of that political perspective.
“Andrew Weissmann, Robert Mueller’s former top prosecutor is hosting a fundraiser for Joe Biden next month,” noted Turning Point USA President and Trump loyalist Charlie Kirk via Twitter. “Still not convinced ‘Russian Collusion’ was all a partisan hoax?”
“Weissmann also gave a tutorial on MSNBC on how to bring down Trump,” Washington Times reporter and columnist Rowan Scarborough tweeted. “The Italian method.”
In February, Weissmann said Democrats should look to Italian politics as a way to “get rid of” Trump, who he referred to as “amoral.”
Other critics were brief in their estimation of the online match-up:
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 21, 2020
The One America News Network personality later commented that “Biden is just another Russiagate grifter trying to scare money away from the cat ladies and wine aunts who still watch Rachel Maddow.”
There’s also bad blood between Weissmann and Sidney Powell, the conservative attorney currently representing the avatar of alleged Mueller-created injustice: retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn.
Powell tore into Weissmann’s legal record in a 2017 op-ed:
Mueller tapped a different sort of prosecutor to lead his investigation — his long-time friend and former counsel, Andrew Weissmann. He is not just a “tough” prosecutor. Time after time, courts have reversed Weissmann’s most touted “victories” for his tactics. This is hardly the stuff of a hero in the law.
Weissmann, as deputy and later director of the Enron Task Force, destroyed the venerable accounting firm of Arthur Andersen LLP and its 85,000 jobs worldwide — only to be reversed several years later by a unanimous Supreme Court. …
Weissmann quietly resigned from the Enron Task Force just as the judge in the Enron Broadband prosecution began excoriating Weissmann’s team and the press began catching on to Weissmann’s modus operandi.
But not just conservatives saw issues with the pairing. The image of a top Trump prosecutor laying his own political cards on the table to further the electoral fortunes of Trump’s presumed 2020 opponent does not augur well.
Veteran and esteemed investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, who co-authored a well-received book detailing Russia’s 2016 campaign of electoral interference, noted that the Weissmann-Biden fundraising event was “not great optics.”
Described as Muller’s “pitbull” in terms of legal strategy, Weissmann was instrumental in the prosecution and conviction of Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort–who, the attorney once admitted, had been a target of the special counsel’s office from the beginning.
Weissmann returned to Jenner & Block late last month.
[image via screengrab/MSNBC]
Editor’s note: this article has been amended post-publication to include additional quotes.
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