The White House threatened to fire Mueller when he started looking into Trump’s finances, but former lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said they should have risked being fired and followed the money.
Weissmann said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
I think the tax returns tell me that this is something we really should have looked at. One of the things I describe for readers, and I’m going to tell you now for your viewers, are the very difficult decisions we had to make in this investigation. I think the first thing to note is when you investigate the president of the United States for 22 months, you are living under a sword of Damocles because the President Of The United States has the ability to pull the plug on your investigation at any moment.
And early on in the investigation, we issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank and the white house called us up, irate, asking, are you doing a financial investigation into the president? That does not normally happen. I’ve investigated organized crime cases, I’ve investigated Enron. Usually, the person you’re investigating does not have the ability to demand an answer with the threat of pulling the plug on your investigation.
So, Director Mueller had a very difficult decision, at least at that early stage of the investigation, do you go ahead with the investigation and risk being fired, or as he decided, do you go forward? We know he was able to, with a lot of help from wonderful agents and prosecutors, prove what Russia did, how it hacked into the election, how it hacked into the DNC. It was helping candidate trump. We proved, and this was the seem I led, we proved that Paul Manafort was sharing internal polling data with a Russian intelligence officer during the campaign. Where I have an issue is that at some point it was necessary to revisit that decision not to follow the money. The way we did with Paul Manafort. That’s something we diplomat do. So, you end up with this report in “The New York Times” and I looked at it, frankly, with personal regret. Is that something we should have done?
Former Mueller lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said that Mueller should have risked being fired and followed the money on Trump. pic.twitter.com/9AasGVQIOL
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) September 29, 2020
If Mueller had gone after Trump’s finances and Trump had shut them down, the American people would have lost a lot of important information on how Russia attacked the 2016 election. If Trump had fired Mueller while Republicans had control of the House, there would have been no impeachment. Trump and Russia would have gotten away with it.
Weissmann’s comments reveal that an independent counsel or special prosecutor should have been named to investigate the Russia/Trump 2016 election.
Mueller was boxed in. In order for it to have been done differently, the situation called for an independent investigation that followed the money.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association