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"A former prosecutor on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team writes in a new book that the group failed to fully investigate President Trump’s financial ties and should have stated explicitly that they believed he obstructed justice, claiming that their efforts were limited by the ever-present threat of Trump disbanding their office and by their own reluctance to be aggressive.
In an explosive tell-all that offers the most detailed account yet of what happened behind the scenes during Mueller’s two-year investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Andrew Weissmann writes of his frustration that the special counsel failed to subpoena the president and otherwise pulled punches for fear of incurring Trump’s wrath.
He lays particular blame on Mueller’s top deputy, Aaron Zebley, for stopping investigators from taking a broad look at Trump’s finances and writes that he now wonders whether investigators had “given it our all,” knowing they left many important questions unanswered.
“As proud as I am of the work our team did — the unprecedented number of people we indicted and convicted and in record speed for any similar investigation — I know the hard answer to that simple question: We could have done more,” Weissmann writes.
Weissmann, a former federal prosecutor and Justice Department supervisor who now teaches at New York University School of Law and comments as a legal analyst for MSNBC, is the first prosecutor on Mueller’s team to truly break his silence about the investigation that dogged Trump’s presidency. Throughout the probe, Mueller and the others were famously tight-lipped about what they were finding, and while some prosecutors have given interviews to reporters upon joining private law firms, they have revealed little about the special counsel’s work.
The book, titled “Where Law Ends,” holds little back, offering colorful observations about other members of the team, their targets and the White House — asserting that all Trump White House counsel members referred to the Oval Office as the reality-free “Magic Kingdom.” He puts in more plain language many of the Mueller report’s conclusions and points to what he saw as the team’s ultimate failures and the questions they left unanswered.
“We still do not know if there are other financial ties between the president and either the Russian government or Russian oligarchs,” Weissmann writes. “We do not know whether he paid bribes to foreign officials to secure favorable treatment for his business interests, a potential violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that would provide leverage against the president. We do not know if he had other Russian business deals in the works at the time he was running for president, how they might have aided or constrained his campaign, or even if they are continuing to influence his presidency.”