Mueller Attorney: Trump Received “Payments Linked To A Russian Oligarch”
Former prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, a top aide in the Mueller investigation, writes in a new book that a business account controlled by President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen received “payments linked to a Russian oligarch,” according to The New York Times.
- The same business account was used to make hush payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who alleged a sexual affair with Trump.
- The book, “Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation,” set to be published next week by Random House, is the first inside look at special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
- Weissmann writes: “Had we used all available tools to uncover the truth, undeterred by the onslaught of the president’s unique powers to undermine our efforts? I know the hard answer to that simple question: We could have done more.”
Previously a mafia and Enron prosecutor and then a lawyer at the F.B.I. for Mr. Mueller, who was the bureau’s director for 12 years, Mr. Weissmann ran one of three major units for the special counsel’s office.
His ‘Team M’ prosecuted Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort for numerous financial crimes. The goal was to flip him and learn whatever he knew about any Trump campaign links to Russia.
- Weissmann offers numerous behind-the-scenes accounts of the probe.
- In one, Mueller’s deputy Aaron M. Zebley agreed without Mueller’s knowledge to then-deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s request that Mueller’s team not coordinate with state prosecutors “as it would undermine the president’s pardon power.”
- The Times reported that two other former officials disputed Weissmann’s account and said no such agreement with Rosenstein had been made.
- Weissmann also writes that the Mueller team was incredibly cautious about provoking Trump, particularly in the beginning, so as not to end up fired before the investigation could be fruitful.
- However, Weissmann believes the team should have become more aggressive toward the end: “We would have subpoenaed the president after he refused our accommodations, even if that risked us being fired. It just didn’t sit right. We were left feeling like we had let down the American public, who were counting on us to give it our all.”