Two investigations appear to be potential fodder for pre-election political machinations.
I won't keep you in suspense. The title of the article may be a bit coy, but there's nothing coy about the article itself. It's an extended rant about how evil Bill Barr is because he just might do something that could lead people to, well, reconsider voting for a Dem. Because Dems would never do anything like leaking false "information" to influence an election, such as a midterm election. Barr is on to that little game. He'll have no compunctions whatsoever about doing the right thing by the American people. How Weissmann ever mistook Barr for a guy who would give a sh*t about an op-ed in the NYT by someone who is clearly in Barr's crosshairs is anyone's guess. Dems have this notion that words repeated like an incantation can somehow work magic, change reality. That's not gonna work with Barr. He's seen it all before.
So, why should Andrew Weissmann in particular be worried?
We could start with this paragraph from the op-ed, which I'll break up into bullet points (without the bullets):
At least two developing investigations could be fodder for pre-election political machinations.
The first is an apparently sprawling investigation by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, that began as an examination of the origins of the F.B.I. investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
The other, led by John Bash, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, is about the so-called unmasking of Trump associates by Obama administration officials.
Mr. Barr personally unleashed both investigations and handpicked the attorneys to run them.
Imagine an Attorney General instituting an investigation! What's up with that, you ask? And "handpicking" the attorney? Shouldn't he have selected them by some random choice method? That degree of nonsense tells you something about Weissmann's sense of desperation.
But behind the tendentious framing of the issue, we can see what so concerns Weissmann: John Durham's investigation of the Russia Hoax and John Bash's investigation of domestic spying by the Obama administration. It just so happens that Andrew Weissmann is very likely a target in both of those investigations.
Let's take the Russia Hoax first. Bill Barr likes to talk about predication--or the lack thereof, as in, no "basis" for an investigation. I've been saying forever that the Team Mueller investigation had no more predication than did the Crossfire Hurricane that it continued--and we've long since learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that Crossfire Hurricane had exactly zero predication. Only now we've seen the documentary smoking guns that prove that. It just so happens that Andrew Weissmann was involved in the Crossfire Hurricane Russia Hoax before the election, and of course was involved in its continuation by Team Mueller.
One of the things we learned from the Horowitz report was that Weissmann--at that time head of DoJ's Fraud Section--was kept abreast of Russia Hoax events by his friend Bruce Ohr. As Michael Horowitz pointed out, this was totally improper. Weissmann had no reason to be involved in Crossfire Hurricane or even to know that such an investigation existed. But, not only was Weissmann kept abreast of the investigation, he even met with key players--including Christopher Steele--shortly before the Carter Page FISA application was submitted. That should make any curious person sit up and take notice, and I'm sure that was not lost on Bill Barr or John Durham. My own belief is that at that meeting Steele was briefed on what additional information had to be invented in order to get the FISA. If, as I assume, Bruce Ohr and Peter Strzok--among others--are cooperating with Durham, then Weissman has reason to worry.
The long and the short of it is that Weissmann knew exactly what Crossfire Hurricane and the Steele "dossier" were about. He knew that it was all a political hit job. And then he became the lead guy under Mueller, based on the same non-predication--reinforced by the Danchenko memo, that Weissmann would have had access to. That's all very bad.
Another thing I've been saying forever is that the Flynn case is probably the most direct investigative route to the heart of Team Mueller. An investigation that was instituted without predication is bad, but it's much worse if the investigators can show that in the course of that illegal investigation evidence was altered or even invented. I'm guessing that just as in all the other cases that Team Mueller ginned up, Weissmann excercised hands on supervisory and advisory roles with regard to the Michael Flynn case. We know that Durham has the goods on several key actors in the Flynn case--Peter Strzok, Kevin Clinesmith, Joe Pientka, maybe Brandon Van Grack (what ever happened to him?). Weissmann knows that, too.
It's fascinating that Weissmann mentions John Bash's investigation. Everyone calls it the "unmasking" investigation, but we have it on excellent authority that, in fact, this investigation is also looking into the "702" abuse of NSA databases to spy on US persons for political purposes. That's what we all assume that Nellie Ohr, the CIA contract employee, was doing. After all, we know that the FBI gave contract employees access to the same data that FBI analysts had, and we know that Nellie Ohr was tasked by Fusion GPS to investigate the Trump family, Paul Manafort, and other US persons.
What does this have to do with Andrew Weissmann? The fact that Nellie Ohr was a CIA contract employee (until joining Fusion GPS) should raise red flags. The CIA isn't supposed to investigate US persons through those databases--or at least certainly not with the same level of access as the FBI, which is the agency that is the lead counter intelligence and counter terrorist agency within the US. That's how it's supposed to work, but it now appears that the root of the 702 abuse may lay in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the FBI and the CIA that dates back to 2012, and which allowed the CIA to basically 'piggyback' on FBI access to the NSA databases. Here are two older posts that describe this, which I highly recommend:
Mueller And The FISA MoU Revisited
DiGenova: Mike Rogers Is The "Rosetta Stone" For John Durham
Here's what I'm leading up to. 2012 means that Robert Mueller was FBI Director when that MOU was drawn up. Just as importantly, Mueller's top legal guy at the FBI, the General Counsel, was none other than his long time protege Andrew Weissmann. And I'm here to tell you that Andrew Weissmann would have known all about the MOU, would probably have played a key role in drawing it up.
But the Chief Judge of the FISC was not informed of this change--a change which was illegal. Here's how I described this in Obama Almost Certainly Spied On Willard:
Sundance's basic thesis is that the whole Russia Hoax operation was a cooperative effort that, on the operational level and much of the planning level, involved the CIA and FBI working hand in glove. We've seen plenty of evidence for this; that much isn't controversial. Another non-controversial underpinning to the Russia Hoax (although rarely mentioned in the MSM) is the FISA abuse that exploited NSA databases for US Person information for political purposes--probably going back to 2012. You may recall there was a presidential election in that year. Admiral Mike Rogers, then head of NSA, blew the whistle on this abuse and went straight to the FISA Court (FISC). In turn, FISC Chief Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote a report that laid bare all the illegalities, citing the FBI in particular.
That much is known among those who have been following the Russia Hoax. What isn't so widely known is that Judge Collyer's report documents, in a footnote, an enormously important link between the FBI and the CIA that is central to the illegal exploitation of the NSA databases.
Briefly, the CIA is expressly forbidden to investigate US citizens inside the United States--that is the province of the FBI. The fear is that were the CIA permitted to spy on US citizens domestically they would quickly become a true secret police or domestic intelligence service operating extra legally to conduct political surveillance.
However, what Judge Collyer discovered was that the FBI and the CIA had entered into a "memorandum of understanding" according to which the CIA was given access to "FBI systems." In other words, behind the back of the FISC, the FBI agreed to provide the CIA and its contractors access to "702" information--enabling the CIA to engage in illegal domestic spying. Judge Collyer found that over a period of years stretching back to 2012, over 85% of the "702" searches conducted supposedly by the FBI (but in reality often by others) were in violation of 702 "minimization procedures." Which is to say, they were illegal no matter who conducted the searches, but grossly illegal when conducted by the CIA. The FBI might claim lax controls, but the CIA was conducting searches under the "memorandum of understanding" that were expressly forbidden. As Judge Collyer noted, no "memorandum of understanding" can change the law.
Now do you see why Weissmann would get the heebee jeebees when Barr explained to Congressman Jordan that, actually, John Bash's investigation goes much further back than just the "unmaskings" before the inauguration, and when it was later leaked that Bash was looking into the whole issue of 702 abuse? Oh, sh*t! Another angle on Weissmann.
You can imagine that the lawyers who are representing the various targets and witnesses involved in the Durham investigation are talking to one another. What they say may be circumscribed by various agreements. However, I imagine that Weissmann's team has long known that Barr and Durham are focused strongly on Team Mueller and everything to do with Andrew Weissmann--whom they regard, rightly, as a central player from beginning to end. All this Dem ferment intended to somehow pressure Barr to hold off until after the election is hoping against hope that the election--against IMO all the odds--swings in favor of the Dems.
Do not expect Barr to pay any attention. He's already just said 'No.'
And don't expect Barr--and especially not John Durham--to cut Bob Mueller any slack out of misguided old "close" friendship. I don't buy that, anyway.