Robert Mueller Pushes Back on Subordinate’s Claim the Special Counsel Could Have Done More

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, before the House Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller criticized his top prosecutor on the collusion probe, Andrew Weissman, for suggesting in his new book that Mueller and his team did not do everything they could have done against President Donald Trump, in an interview with the Washington Post published Tuesday.

Mueller told the Post, “It is not surprising that members of the Special Counsel’s Office did not always agree, but it is disappointing to hear criticism of our team based on incomplete information.”

He also said the team operated “knowing that our work would be scrutinized from all sides” and sought to make clear that he was the office’s ultimate decider.

“When important decisions had to be made, I made them,” Mueller told the paper. “I did so as I have always done, without any interest in currying favor or fear of the consequences. I stand by those decisions and by the conclusions of our investigation.”

Weissmann lamented in a recent interview in The Atlantic that the special counsel team could not do more, and lamented that they were hampered by internal division and Mueller’s integrity.

“There was more that could be done that we didn’t do,” Weissman said in the interview. In his book, Where Law Ends, he wrote that the team had not used all available tools to uncover the truth and acted too timidly.

Mueller’s report, which came out in early 2019, said there was no evidence of criminal conspiracy, cooperation, or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and declined to make a judgment on whether President Trump had obstructed justice.

Last week, the Justice Department released a summary of an interview with an FBI investigator who served on the agency’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Flynn and subsequently, the special counsel.

The former investigator, William Barnett, said there was a “get Trump” attitude among some prosecutors on the special counsel, and a tendency to dismiss information that did not fit what they already believed.

He also said Mueller’s “all stars” had a conviction that there was “something criminal there” and there was a competition as to which attorney was going to find it. He also said there was a lack of letting the evidence lead the investigation and more of an attitude of “the evidence is there, we just have to find it.”

 

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