by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
No doubt Democrats in the House sought Mueller’s testimony, and that of his staff, for one reason only: to paint Trump as a criminal without the politically risky business of impeachment. And I have no quibble with the contention that [Andrew] Weissmann held the reins of the special counsel probe and that Mueller’s former top lawyer will try to vilify the president.
But, far from damaging Trump, Weissmann’s closed-door testimony—if handled properly—will assist Republicans in unraveling the Russia-collusion-turned-obstruction witch hunt and inflict far greater damage on the Democrats. Here’s why.
While the general populace viewed Mueller as an apolitical straight-shooter (at least until he put his name to a final report that exposed him as a political hack), those familiar with Weissmann’s prosecutorial and professional history held a much different view of the number two man. Yet, even now, only a small segment of society knows Weissmann’s name, much less the details about his questionable background. That will change soon with Democrats’ decision to call Weissmann to testify, thrusting Mueller’s sidekick into the spotlight—blemishes and all.
And Weissmann’s warts are many. First, we have Weissmann’s applause for the insubordination former acting attorney general Sally Yates showed President Trump. “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects,” Weissmann emailed Yates upon learning that Yates had refused to fulfill her duty to defend Trump’s travel ban and had instructed Department of Justice attorneys to do likewise. Trump immediately fired Yates, while Mueller later chose Weissmann to lead the special counsel team.
We also have Weissmann’s financial support of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton through thousands in campaign contributions.