Judicial Watch Obtains DOJ Documents Showing Andrew Weissmann Leading Hiring Effort for Mueller Special Counsel
MAY 14, 2019
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today the U.S. Department of Justice released 73 pages of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) containing text messages and calendar entries of Mueller special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann showing he led the hiring effort for the investigation that targeted President Trump.
The document production came in response to Judicial Watch’s June 7, 2018, lawsuit filed after the Department of Justice failed to respond to a December 15, 2017, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01356)). Judicial Watch seeks:
- All text messages sent to or from DOJ official Andrew Weissmann regarding Donald Trump and/or Hillary Clinton between August 8, 2016 and the present [December 15, 2017].
- All calendar entries, whether in physical or electronic form, for Weissmann from January 1, 2015 to the present [December 15, 2017].
Weissmann was formerly the Obama-era chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section.
Weissmann’s calendar entries provided to Judicial Watch start in May 2017, even though the lawsuit sued for records going back to 2015. The few text messages produced by the DOJ did not specify the year sent or received.
Weissman’s calendar shows that he began interviewing people for investigator jobs on the Mueller operation almost immediately after it was announced that he had joined the team in early June.
On June 5, 2017, he interviewed former Chief of the Public Corruption Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York Andrew Goldstein. Goldstein was a Time magazine reporter. Goldstein contributed a combined $3,300 to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. His wife, Julie Rawe, was a reporter and editor for Time for 13 years, until 2013. He became a lead prosecutor for Mueller.
The next day, on June 6, 2017 Weissmann had a meeting with “FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] counsel.”
Weissmann interviewed another prosecutor, Kyle Freeny, from the DOJ Money Laundering Section for the team on June 7, 2017. She contributed a total of $500 to Obama’s presidential campaigns and $250 to Hillary Clinton’s. She was later detailed to the Mueller investigation.
He interviewed a trial attorney who worked with him in the Criminal Fraud Section, Rush Atkinson, on June 9, 2017. Records show that Atkinson donated $200 to Clinton’s campaign in 2016. He is a registered Democrat and contributed $200 to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Atkinson also became part of the Mueller team.
Weissmann interviewed DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Greg Andres for the team on June 13, 2017. Andres donated $2,700 to the campaign for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in 2018 and $1,000 to the campaign for David Hoffman (D) in 2009. Andres is a registered Democrat. His wife, Ronnie Abrams, a U.S. district judge in Manhattan, was nominated to the bench in 2011 by Obama. He joined the Mueller team in August 2017.
The same day’s calendar entry shows a reference to MLARS [Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section] at DOJ and to Cyprus MLAT [Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty].
The calendar references an appointment on June 15, 2017, to “NY knock-and-talks.” The same day, Weissmann has a note for “Ethics Training Session.”
On June 16, 2017, he makes a reference to “Rule 4.2”, concerning the propriety of lawyers talking to witnesses represented by counsel.
On June 27, 2017, Weissmann conducts more hiring interviews.
On June 28, 2017, he notes discussion of a Grand Jury taking place.
On Independence Day, July 4, 2017, Weissmann holds a “Team Leader Meeting” and a “Daily Ops Meeting” in the Special Counsel’s conference room.
On August 3, 2017, there is a meeting about a Manafort “reverse proffer.”
On November 20, 2017, there is a meeting regarding a “proffer,” and the same day they have a call regarding Skadden attorney Alex van der Zwaan, who later pled guilty to a false statements charge.
On Thanksgiving Day, 2017, Weissmann convened a Team Manafort Meeting at FBI.
On Christmas Day 2017, he held a Team Manafort Meeting and a Daily Ops Meeting.
On New Year’s Day 2018, Weissmann held a Team Manafort Meeting.
Weissmann held many meetings throughout the period regarding Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan, who was sentenced for lying to investigators, including a February 11, 2018, meeting (followed nine days later by van der Zwaan’s guilty plea).
Weissmann’s text messages include a March 11 (year not provided), message indicating that he landed in the U.K., and on March 15, he received a text from someone who says, “Long time no see. Re reports that OSC [Office of Special Counsel] subpoenaing documents at Trump’s business, my sources say must take a hard look at [Redacted].”
“These documents show Andrew Weissmann, an anti-Trump activist, had a hand in hiring key members of Mueller’s team – who also happened to be political opponents of President Trump,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents show that Mueller outsourced his hiring decisions to Andrew Weissmann. No wonder it took well over a year to get this basic information and, yet, the Deep State DOJ is still stonewalling on other Weissmann documents!”
Judicial Watch previously released documents showing strong support by Weissmann for former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order. Weissmann reportedly also attended Hillary Clinton’s Election Night party in New York.