Powell has repeatedly criticized Andrew Weissmann, a top lawyer involved in the prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. In a 2017 piece, Powell wrote: “Judging by Mueller's staffing choices, he may not be very interested in justice.”
Powell accused Weissmann, once the director of the Enron Task Force, of “prosecutorial overreach” in past cases and said it could signal what was in store for President Trump and his associates in the Russia probe.
Powell was so outraged after one case involving Weissmann that, in 2012, she filed a formal complaint of prosecutorial misconduct with the Texas bar and the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility. She also wrote a book about the experience called “Licensed to Lie.” She has argued that Weissmann and his task force “made up a crime,” alleging the team gave the defendants “false and misleading summaries of what witnesses had told the government.”
This goes back to the Enron Task Force, in which Powell handled an appeal for a Merrill Lynch executive. Her experience led her to write Licensed To Lie--a remarkable book for a practicing attorney. In that book she recounts the abusive techniques used by DoJ attorneys like Weissmann years ago, as recounted here in her interview with Mark Levin. I go into more detail on Weissmann's background with Mueller in Why Andrew Weissmann? Again, all this should ring bells:
LEVIN: Okay, what happened? I assume they appealed.
POWELL: They were all convicted. They did appeal. And on appeal, the Fifth Circuit reversed 12 out of the 14 counts of conviction. They reversed all the honest services counts against all the Merrill Lynch defendants and the related wire fraud count.
LEVIN: So let's be clear in plain English, so all the counts relating to their work with Enron and so forth were reversed.
POWELL: Yes, all the honest services fraud charges were reversed. The conspiracy and the wire fraud charges, yes, because they were not valid charges. The defendants' conduct was not criminal. But the real atrocity was that these men at the urging of Mr. Weissmann and his Enron Task Force cohorts were sent to prison upon their conviction.
LEVIN: So they didn't wait for the appeal. They immediately send them off to Federal Prison. What kind of Federal Prison?
POWELL: The youngest Merrill Lynch defendant was sent to a maximum security Federal transfer facility with the worst of the worst criminals in the country.
LEVIN: You know, when I was Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, I saw some of these facilities. I saw Marion, which is a final top security prison. Why would they send this gentleman to a maximum security prison where we have terrorists, mass, murders mobsters, gang bosses, the worst of the worst, in order to break them?
POWELL: Yes, they did the worst things they could possibly do to these men in the system.
LEVIN: And that's Weissmann? Weissmann had to ask the Federal Bureau of Prisons to put that man in that place. Because if he didn't ask him, he wouldn't be in that place.
POWELL: And that young man was completely acquitted on appeal --
LEVIN: He was completely acquitted on appeal. How long did you serve in this prison?
POWELL: Eight months away from his two young children and family in an absolute, unmitigated hell.
LEVIN: So you say 12 of the 14 were reversed. What were the other two counts?
POWELL: The other two counts were absolutely appalling. My client was convicted and still stands convicted on two counts of perjury and obstruction of justice for testifying about his personal understanding of a telephone call he was not even on after Mr. Weissmann in the grand jury told him to share his personal understanding of that phone call, whether it was accurate or not.
LEVIN: Well, this is interesting. Isn't that sort of the way they want to catch the President of the United States?
LEVIN: And yet, how many years ago was this?
POWELL: This was 16 to 18 years ago.
LEVIN: And this connection between Mueller and Weissmann two decades.
POWELL: At least, two decades.
LEVIN: Does he treat him almost like a son? He seems to go - he seems to bring Weissmann with him wherever he goes, including as Director of the FBI.
POWELL: He did. He has been promoting and protecting Mr. Weissmann for at least two decades.
LEVIN: And he is Appointed Special Counsel and his immediate first choice is Andrew Weissmann to be his top lieutenant.
POWELL: That's right.
UPDATE 1: Per Techno Fog Powell has confirmed that Flynn will continue his cooperation per his plea deal. Status hearing re sentencing is scheduled for this Friday, June 14, 2016. No surprise in this. We'll see what happens at the status hearing.
UPDATE 2: Powell says it will take "at least 90 days" to review Flynn's "massive" case file. Another sentencing delay.
UPDATE 3: Margot Cleveland at The Federalist has a lengthy speculation on the significance of Flynn's change of attorneys. Her bottom line is that it's premature to read too much into the change, although such a change at this late stage of the case is very unusual. In that light, I would argue that Cleveland's view that "Powell’s statement stressing his cooperation with Mueller, and his intent to continue to cooperate, negates" the idea that Flynn is having second thoughts about his guilty plea is also premature. Powell isn't in a position to make any public move in that regard until she has reviewed the case file--although she may well have preliminary views and ideas, and Flynn may as well.