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The Weissmann Sub-Dossier Surfaces
Clinton legal consigliere Andrew Weissmann came out with his memoirs of Team Mueller in book form in September of 2020. The book is somewhat ambiguously titled: "Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation." No doubt Weissmann knew what he meant by that, although my point of view would be that where the law ended is where the Mueller investigation began. Meaning, the Mueller investigation began when any predication for a legitimate investigation of Trump ended. Revelations regarding Igor Danchenko, in John Durham’s indictment, lend powerful support to that interpretation (which I’ve maintained from the beginning).
You can access past posts regarding Weissmann generally here. More specifically regarding Weissmann’s book, I wrote this post—which is a review of Shipwreckedcrew’s review of a Weissmann interview:
Andrew Weissmann's book is out tomorrow. “Where the Law Ends”. Search it at Amazon if you're interested.
The book is basically an account of how everyone else on Team Mueller--but especially Mueller's chief of staff, Aaron Zebley--screwed up and prevented Weissmann from saving the country. Commenter Mike Sylwester has linked to an interview Weissmann did with The Atlantic: The Inside Story of the Mueller Probe’s Mistakes. I haven't read it, but Shipwreckedcrew has, and he says the interview is "a doozy."
In the past I've written about Weissmann, pointing out that after the ethical shambles of the Enron case, resulting in a 9-0 and strongly worded reversal from the SCOTUS for Weissmann, Weissmann become a pariah at DoJ. It was Bob Mueller who twice gave Weissmann a landing place at FBI, "to lick his wounds" as SWC puts it.
SWC, however, has far more of a DoJ insider's perspective on Weissmann than I ever had, and he explains what's going with Weissmann's holy war against Zebley.
BTW, you can access past posts featuring Aaron Zebley here.
At any rate, the reason for going into all this is that Weissmann’s book has surfaced again, in the context of a NYT FOIA suit. Here’s how that works:
In the book, Weissmann writes (and his words are embedded in a Politico article by Josh Gerstein):
An unpublished investigative compilation sometimes referred to as the "Alternative Mueller Report" has been located in Justice Department files and could be released soon, according to a letter filed in federal court Thursday.
A top deputy to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, revealed in a book he published last year that the team he headed prepared a summary of all its work — apparently including details not contained in the final report made public in 2019.
"At least for posterity, I had all the [team] members ... write up an internal report memorializing everything we found, our conclusions, and the limitations on the investigation, and provided it to the other team leaders as well as had it maintained in our files," wrote Weissmann in "Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation."
The NYT read that about a Weissmann sub-dossier to the official Mueller Dossier and filed a FOIA suit to get access to Weissmann’s sub-dossier. That sub-dossier is what Gerstein tells us has been located.
In assessing this development it’s important to note that the NYT filed their FOIA request all the way back in January, 2021, and followed that up with a lawsuit under FOIA in July, 2021. Further, Weissmann’s sub-dossier appears to be somewhat limited in scope. Weissmann states in his book that his “internal report” was based on the work of his team. Gerstein explains what that means:
The group Weissmann supervised in the special counsel's office was called "Team M" after its primary target — former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The team more directly focused on the ties between Russia and former President Donald Trump was known as "Team R."
It's unclear whether investigative teams other than Weissmann's also prepared compilations that were not contained in Mueller's final report.
Strictly speaking, from what we know at this point the document that DoJ has discovered in response to the NYT FOIA suit would only pertain to the Manafort investigation. Moreover, Gerstein cautions his readers:
The pledge to process the so-called alternative Mueller report is no guarantee that what's released will contain significant new revelations. The Justice Department can use a variety of exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act to shield parts of the document from disclosure, including by deeming it attorney work-product or part of an internal deliberative process. Current DOJ leaders could waive those exemptions, but releasing other contents such as grand jury information could be more difficult due to legal restrictions.
My guess is that any significant facts that “Team M” uncovered would have been included in the main Mueller Dossier. Editing by Barr was, by all reports, limited to the concluding legal analysis. Moreover, I strongly believe that both Barr and Durham were far too smart to involve Durham in any substantive handling of the Mueller Dossier, especially since Durham’s initial charge was to review the Flynn case, which didn’t formally involve Weissmann. Thus, my suspicion is that Weissmann’s sub-dossier will ultimately prove to be quite short on new information but long on tendentious legal ‘interpretation’ and speculative ‘conclusions.’
In the past I’ve repeatedly stated that John Durham’s investigate path leads straight to Team Mueller, because the Team Mueller witchhunt—by the terms of Rod Rosenstein’s authorizing memo—is simply a continuation of Crossfire Hurricane and rests on the same bogus predication (cf. Crossfire Hurricane Flowed Seamlessly Into Team Mueller). If John Durham is indeed targeting Weissmann—whose involvement with Team Mueller actually has roots in Crossfire Hurricane before Election 2016 (as critiqued in Michael Horowitz’s OIG report)—I doubt that this development will slow Durham down.