Federal prosecutors Sam Buell, far left, and Andrew Weissmann, center, smile as they talk with reporters outside the Federal Courthouse after winning their case against Arthur Andersen in Houston Saturday, June 15, 2002. A jury on Saturday convicted Arthur Andersen of shredding Enron-related documents, dealing the company a huge blow and giving a first victory to prosecutors investigating Enron’s collapse. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
I’d like to say I was surprised by this, but I’m not.
A lot of questions have been raised about the partisanship of Mueller’s team of attorneys. Nine of fifteen are known to be Democrat donors — apparently apolitical and GOP talent is hard to come by. In particular, one guy, Andrew Weissmann has drawn a lot of attention. Not only is he an Obama and DNC donor, he has a reputation of being perfectly willing to destroy the lives of innocent people in order to claim a scalp:
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.
Next, Weissmann creatively criminalized a business transaction between Merrill Lynch and Enron. Four Merrill executives went to prison for as long as a year. Weissmann’s team made sure they did not even get bail pending their appeals, even though the charges Weissmann concocted, like those against Andersen, were literally unprecedented.
Weissmann’s prosecution devastated the lives and families of the Merrill executives, causing enormous defense costs, unimaginable stress and torturous prison time. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the mass of the case.
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.
By the way, he is replicating this behavior with Paul Manafort. I don’t carry any brief for Manafort (see my coverage of him) but carrying out a pre-dawn, no-knock raid on a white collar suspect and then trying to prevent him from getting bail is just bullying of the type that deserves a righteous ass-whipping.
Merely being an egregious ass and a partisan Democrat is not a bar from being a DoJ lawyer, rather in that agency those are features, not bugs. What makes Weissmann stand out is that he’s very obviously an rabid anti-Trump kind of partisan, the kind you’d hire to do damage to the Trump administration and White House if that was your objective.
Case in point. One of the first crises to hit the Trump White House was the issuance of an executive order restricting the ability of people from six failed states and one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, to travel to the United States. It was dishonestly portrayed as a “travel ban” and a “Muslim ban” but, in reality, if affected a handful of people and was clearly legal. Sally Yates, who was an Obama holdover acting as attorney general until Jeff Sessions could be confirmed. She refused to defend the executive order in court and expressed doubt as to its legality.
Judicial Watch has just received Sally Yates’s email and in it you find all kinds of career Justice people sucking up to her in the most disgusting manner:
The emails, several sent from official Justice Department email addresses, show strong support for Yates, who was fired for disobeying a direct order from the President:
- Thomas Delahanty, then the United States Attorney for Maine wrote: “You are my hero.”
- Liz Aloi, a career service employee and Chief of the Justice Department’s Special Financial Investigations Unit told Yates she was “Inspirational and heroic.”
- Emily Gray Rice, then the U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire and an Obama appointee said: “AAG Yates, thank you, as always, for making us proud. It is truly an honor to work for you.”
- Obama appointee Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan told Yates, “Thank you for your courage and leadership. This is wonderful news.”
- DOJ Civil Division Appellate Attorney Jeffrey Clair wrote: “Thank you AG Yates. I’ve been in civil/appellate for 30 years and have never seen an administration with such contempt for democratic values and the rule of law. The President’s order is an unconstitutional embarrassment and I applaud you for taking a principled stand against defending it.”
In the batch is this:
So one of Mueller’s top deputies was “in awe” of Sally Yates for refusing to do her Constitutional duty? And we really think this guy is going to treat the people on the Trump campaign he interacts with as anything but roadkill on his way to damage the Trump administration? Do we really believe he doesn’t carry a personal animus towards Trump for having kicked Yates to the curb? And if private text messages were grounds to kick the now famous Peter Strzok off the investigation team, wouldn’t praising someone fired by Trump for acting illegally using government email raise red flags?