Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “pit bull” Andrew Weissmann is leaving the squad — a sure sign the “witch-hunt” is over — but there’s likely more to come.
Weissmann has a pattern of wrecking lives with his prosecutorial terrorist tactics, then slinking away when someone catches on to his tactics and before the reversals start rolling in. Now, President Trump has his first real attorney general who likely would not allow Weissmann’s abuses, and thanks to the good work of two lawyers — Margot Cleveland and “Techno_Fog” — a Houston court has finally unsealed old evidence proving Weissmann’s egregious threats against witnesses. The disclosure this week of Bruce Ohr’s testimony also implicates Weissmann in a world of problems.
Mueller wouldn’t want to sully his hands or perhaps even know how to run a prosecution as nasty as his has been without Weissmann to do the dirty work for him.
It takes a special someone to order a military-style pre-dawn assault against 69-year-old Paul Manafort in his home and have his wife searched at gun point while in her nightgown in their bed — all over a tax violation. There were predawn home raids of all the Hollywood celebrities, lawyers, corporate executives, and elites over their significant frauds, tax issues, lies and cheating, right?
And not just anyone would order the similarly dramatic, heavily-armed raid of 66-year-old Roger Stone — especially during a government shutdown when resources were scarce. Stone not only had counsel but certainly would have turned himself in to authorities. He had appeared many times. But hey, those 29 federal agents, 17 vehicles, a helicopter, a boat, and frogmen were all required — with CNN pre-positioned on site — because Stone was obviously dangerous. In fact, Stone’s so dangerous, the judge immediately released him on his own recognizance.
Weissmann’s modus operandi is to terrorize and humiliate his targets. That’s why Mueller brought him on the squad. If that’s what one thinks a federal prosecutor is supposed to be, then Weissmann is your man.
And he is obviously Mueller’s, as “Bob” has been protecting and promoting him for at least 20 years, despite the misconduct documented heavily in other Enron cases, my book, and in the grievance we filed with the New York Bar — which was swept under the rug by the DOJ’s “Office of Professional Responsibility” — while Weissmann was Mueller’s general counsel at the FBI.
While we don’t doubt that Weissmann has had some valid convictions and done some good work, we take serious issue with the irreparable damage his abusive, corrupt, unethical, and dishonest tactics have done to countless people over the last two decades.
The NPR article extolling his virtues and “effectiveness” notably quotes — without context — two of his most prominent co-conspirators in infamous abuses of law. Leslie Caldwell was the head of the Enron Task Force, who with Weissmann brought the bogus indictment against the venerable accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP.
The minute they unsealed the indictment, they destroyed Andersen and its 85,000 jobs worldwide. That was exactly what they intended — and it was all a power play. The Supreme Court unanimously reversed Andersen several years later — not just because of the jury instructions, but primarily because Caldwell and Weissmann made up a crime. They indicted Andersen for conduct that was not criminal.
Does anyone see a problem with that? Ask the 85,000 employees who lost their jobs and the partners who did nothing wrong and lost everything.
Reporting on Weissmann’s departure, NPR quoted Kathryn Ruemmler — another priceless choice. Ruemmler was Weissmann’s protégé on the Enron Task Force — in my Merrill Lynch case. It took six years to uncover the evidence they had hidden that showed the defendants were innocent.
Again, Weissmann and Ruemmler contrived a crime, but this time, they sent four Merrill Lynch executives to prison for up to a year on an indictment criminalizing innocent conduct. At the same time, they hid evidence they had yellow-highlighted before the trial that directly contradicted their witnesses and showed the defendants were innocent. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Weissmann, Ruemmler and company “plainly suppressed” evidence favorable to the defense.
Even the notorious Strzok-Page text messages reference the tight bond between these former Enron Task Force prosecutors and how they have protected each other. The NPR article proves they continue to protect each other — no matter the cost to justice — and doubtless always will.
Weissmann and his “colleagues” routinely threatened witnesses with dire consequences and made good on the threats. People found themselves in solitary confinement until they sang to Weissmann’s tune. He piled on additional charges, indicted family members, and as of this week, despite evidence of his misconduct mysteriously going missing, we know that he also plainly told witnesses that if they so much as talked to the defense, he “would make them pay.”
Weissmann was so “persuasive” he even bludgeoned people into pleading guilty to things that were not crimes, and guilty pleas had to be withdrawn years later.
In fact, all the Enron Task Force cases were rife with prosecutorial misconduct, and Weissmann quietly left that Task Force as more misconduct was coming to light in the disastrous prosecution of the Enron Broadband cases. Is that part of what is happening again now?
Weissmann has used the same tactics throughout the Mueller operation, and we are only beginning to scratch the surface of his involvement now that we have the testimony of Bruce Ohr and know that Weissmann was wrongly part of the back-channel of the entire Russia collusion frame of President Trump — thanks to Leslie Caldwell bringing him back into DOJ under Loretta Lynch.
While we can take some comfort in the fact Weissmann is leaving the Department of Justice, it is stunning that he claims an interest in “preventing wrongful convictions.”
Thankfully, he has taken the first step toward that goal by resigning as a prosecutor. But given his prosecutorial record of the last two decades — littered with every prosecutorial abuse imaginable, multiple wrongful convictions and countless wrongly-ruined lives — there’s a long list of people who question his ability even to define justice.
Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor and veteran of 500 federal appeals, is the author of “LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.” She is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.