In a rare public statement issued Tuesday, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller defended his investigation of President Donald Trump against criticism from one of his top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann.
In a book released Tuesday, Weissmann alleged that the special counsel’s team was not aggressive enough in its investigation of Trump. Weissmann asserted that investigators should have pursued the president’s tax returns and looked deeper into his business activities from before he took office.
Weissmann, who led the investigation into Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, also thought that Mueller’s team pulled punches in an unsuccessful bid to interview Trump. (RELATED: Here’s What Mueller Found (Or Didn’t Find) On Collusion)
“It is not surprising that members of the Special Counsel’s Office did not always agree, but it is disappointing to hear criticism of our team based on incomplete information,” Mueller said in a statement reported by The Washington Post.
“I did so as I have always done, without any interest in currying favor or fear of the consequences. I stand by those decisions and by the conclusions of our investigation.”
Mueller, who was director of the FBI when Weissmann was general counsel at the bureau, also took responsibility for all of the decisions made in the Trump investigation.
“When important decisions had to be made, I made them,” he said.
Weissmann laid most of the blame for the investigation’s alleged missteps at the feet of Aaron Zebley, a longtime Mueller ally who oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Trump probe.
Weissmann accused Zebley of blocking several paths of the investigation.
“Repeatedly during our twenty-two months in operation, we would reach some critical juncture in our investigation only to have Aaron say that we could not take a particular action because it risked aggravating the president beyond some undefined breaking point,” Weissmann wrote in his book.
He also called Mueller’s report “mealymouthed” on the issue of whether President Trump tried to obstruct the FBI and special counsel’s investigation.
Weissmann, who joined MSNBC as a legal analyst last year, was one of the special counsel team’s most partisan prosecutors. Campaign finance records show he contributed solely to Democratic political campaigns. He also reportedly attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York in November 2016, and planned this June to host a virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden.
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