In what is being billed as the surest sign to date that the Robert Mueller witch hunt may well be coming to an end, the biggest name in the cast of Democrat lawyer all-stars, is walking away from the effort.
Andrew Weissmann will leave to teach at New York University while working on various public service projects and preventing wrongful convictions, NPR reported. Weissmann helped build the case against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was recently sentenced to more than seven years in prison following two cases related to the Mueller probe. Neither case alleged Russian collusion.
His departure signals the special counsel investigation is coming to a conclusion, one source told NPR. Weissmann has been a frequent target of conservative legal interest groups and supporters of the president. Author Michael Wolff said former Trump advisor Steve Bannon told him that Weissmann was like “the LeBron James of money laundering investigations.”
Known as a man who is not afraid to take on tough cases against big adversaries, Weissman was instrumental in the convictions of former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort. Now that Manafort is going to federal prison Weissman is walking away.
Weissmann has borne the brunt of attacks from critics such as Rush Limbaugh and conservative legal interest groups.
They cited his attendance at Hillary Clinton’s election night party in 2016 and a positive email he wrote to former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to defend the Trump administration’s first Muslim travel ban.
A later version of that ban was eventually upheld by a majority of the Supreme Court.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon also issued a warning about Weissmann and other senior members of the special counsel team when they were named in 2017.
Weissman is the latest in the number of lawyers originally chosen for Mueller’s team to jump ship.
His leaving will follow the departure of the senior-most FBI agent working on the Mueller probe, who has taken his own next step. Special Agent in Charge David Archey started a new job on March 4 as head of the FBI’s office in Richmond, Va.
Earlier this month, another special counsel prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, moved on to lead a Justice Department effort to enforce compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law that has become the subject of intense interest following charges against Manafort, his right-hand-man Richard Gates, and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
And WilmerHale, the law firm that Mueller and several other prosecutors left to help create the special counsel team, is preparing for the return of some of its onetime law partners, three lawyers have told NPR in recent weeks.
Perhaps the endless hamster wheel to nowhere investigation really is about to conclude.