Andrew Weissmann (Columbia ‘84) is perhaps the most powerful tool in the special counsel’s arsenal, a seasoned DoJ veteran and relentless prosecutor with an unstoppable work ethic and a resume tailor-made for the Manafort trial. Manafort, accused of money laundering and failure to disclose his foreign contacts, was a high-flying political consultant who had many powerful friends; Weissmann made his bones prosecuting crime families at the U.S. attorney’s office in New York and leading one of history’s largest fraud investigations as director of the DoJ Enron Tax Force in 2004. As an added bonus, Weissmann has worked with Mueller before, serving as the FBI’s general counsel for a portion of Mueller’s term as FBI director.
Despite Weissmann’s impressive credentials, his presence on Mueller’s team has created some headaches for the special counsel: Weissmann is one of the prosecutors who has been accused of animus against President Trump. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, acting attorney general Sally Yates instructed the Justice Department not to defend his travel ban, prompting Trump to fire her This prompted Weissman to send Yates a glowing email: “I am so proud and in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respect.” The notion that one of the prosecutors pursuing Trump thought so highly of an extralegal action taken in defiance of Trump has unsurprisingly gone over poorly with Republicans.more » « less