New Insight Into the Mueller Investigation

During the lengthy investigation into President Trump’s relationship with Russia, Robert Mueller’s team was conspicuously tight-lipped. Now, one of Mueller’s top deputies is speaking out. Andrew Weissmann has decades of experience in the Justice Department. In his new book, “Where Law Ends,” Weissman argues that Mueller and his team made serious missteps.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: the way you described his book is pretty devastating. You said — sorry, his report. So afraid of overstepping his mandate that you say he erred on the side of under stepping it issuing “a mealy mouth report that accused the president of obstruction of justice without actually saying it out loud.” You were pushing for a tougher result, a tougher report, tougher instruction and conclusions, and again, this goes back to the Russia investigation and what — who knew what about Russian influence into the 2016 election.

ANDREW WEISSMANN, AUTHOR, “WHERE LAW ENDS”: So, I do. One of the things I try to do is be fair to his judgments on — let’s just take the three big things which are subpoenaing the president where he made the decision that he would not do that. A second is not doing a full investigation into the president’s finances as it relates to any links with Russia. And the third, as you mentioned, is the issue of not actually saying whether the president had obstructed justice. And I try and walk people through what the reasoning was on each those, and then respectfully, why I disagree with those conclusions and trying to put in historical perspective the rules we were operating under, the special council rules that have very set parameters and getting people to think about whether those rules really should be amended if God forbid we’re in a position again where there’s an investigation of the White House.

AMANPOUR: So, you say that Mueller’s fundamental flaw was believing that a Justice Department run by his old friend, Bill Barr, would be, you know, fair and absolutely stick to rule of law. And, you know, he then blind- sided you, we all remember that day when he came out with his four-page summary of a 448-page report, and you said, we had just been played by the attorney general. What was Robert Mueller’s reaction as you all listened and watched that, you being played as you said?

WEISSMANN: It was a real punch to the gut that Monday when we were in the office, and not only was it unexpected that Bill Barr was going to issue a four-page letter that completely distorted what it is that we had found, but you have to add on to that the gloss that all of us felt, which was that this was a personal friend of Director Mueller. And so this was such a betrayal of the rule of law of the department, following the facts and the law, and not spinning and being fair to the investigation, but also a betrayal of a friendship.

About This Episode EXPAND

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) and global health expert Devi Sridhar give a reality check on COVID and presidential politics. Andrew Weissman gives new insight into the Mueller investigation. U.S. army veteran Kristofer Goldsmith explains how white supremacists are targeting veterans for recruitment.