Monday, September 21, 2020

UPDATED: Andrew Weissmann Out To Settle Scores?

Andrew Weissmann's book is out tomorrow.  “Where the Law Ends”. Search it at Amazon if you're interested.

The book is basically an account of how everyone else on Team Mueller--but especially Mueller's chief of staff, Aaron Zebley--screwed up and prevented Weissmann from saving the country. Commenter Mike Sylwester has linked to an interview Weissmann did with The Atlantic: The Inside Story of the Mueller Probe’s Mistakes. I haven't read it, but Shipwreckedcrew has, and he says the interview is "a doozy."

In the past I've written about Weissmann, pointing out that after the ethical shambles of the Enron case, resulting in a 9-0 and strongly worded reversal from the SCOTUS for Weissmann, Weissmann become a pariah at DoJ. It was Bob Mueller who twice gave Weissmann a landing place at FBI, "to lick his wounds" as SWC puts it.

SWC, however, has far more of a DoJ insider's perspective on Weissmann than I ever had, and he explains what's going with Weissmann's holy war against Zebley.

Here are a few samples.

First off, SWC explains the title of the book. The title is meant to portray Weissmann as engaged in a struggle against a guy who is "literally Hitler"--Donald Trump. I say that just in case anyone thought that Crossfire Hurricane and Team Mueller were ever about anything else--Page, Flynn, Manafort, Papadopoulos--except "getting Trump." So, the title:

“Where the Law Ends”. That is the first half of a famous quote from 17th-century political philosopher Johne [sic] Locke, with the whole quote reading “Where the law ends, tyranny begins.”

SWC goes through some of the high points and the low points of Weissmann's career, and shows how it all plays into Weissmann's compulsion to blame the supposed 'failure' to Get Trump on Zebley. You can follow the link to the article for the details, which are instructive. What SWC draws out is that at every major career intersection with Mueller, Weissmann found himself reporting to Aaron Zebley--at the FBI (where Zebley was Mueller's Chief of Staff) and at Team Mueller. This obviously rankled. So much that it appears to be a major theme of the book (the quote below is from the Weissmann interview at The Atlantic):

The two most significant takeaways from the Atlantic story are that Weissmann equates former SCO Chief of Staff Aaron Zebley with noted timid Union Civil War General George McClellan [sic] who resisted the entreties from President Lincoln to attack the smaller Confederate Army at Gettysburg while comparing himself and other SCO members to the always attacking Gen. Ulysses Grant.

[Note and h/t commenter Rob S. SWC should've written 'Meade', not McClellan. Also, most historians would not accept SWC's characterization of Meade as 'timid'--although perhaps SWC was misled by his mistake re McClellan. In fact, both Grant and Lee had a high opinion of Meade's abilities.]

"Weissmann blames this persistent timidity on one of Mueller’s other top deputies, a lawyer named Aaron Zebley, comparing Zebley to George B. McClellan (and more zealous team members, including himself, to Ulysses S. Grant). “Repeatedly during our twenty-two months in operation,” Weissmann writes, “we would reach some critical juncture in our investigation only to have Aaron say that we could not take a particular action because it risked aggravating the president beyond some undefined breaking point.”

"Weissmann described to me this failure of nerve on Zebley’s part, an aversion to confronting the ugliness coming from Trump."

It’s noteworthy that Weissmann seems to have internalized the SCO’s mission as akin to the “Civil War.”

Weissmann goes even further with Attorney General Barr, saying that he “sold out his country” in service of Pres. Trump.

But I want to focus this article on Weissmann’s stated contempt for Zebley because it is so strident and revealing.

And what's just as bad, Zebley has apparently continued to lead a charmed life under Mueller's mentorship, while Weissmann is scuffling to monetize his time with Team Mueller--while sweating out the Barr/Durham investigation. Here's how SWC concludes:

Zebley has now returned to the lucrative partnerships at WilmerHale, while Andrew Weissmann has had to monetize his time with the Special Counsel’s Office by writing a book blaming Zebly for most of the things that went wrong.  It is fascinating to see this infighting spill out into the media.

I suspect Aaron Zebley, and [sic] accomplished professional in his own right — and who has never been reversed 9-0 by the Supreme Court — is not going to take being Andrew Weissmann’s “whipping boy” laying down.  It is unlikely to please his partners at WilmerHale either.  It will be interesting to see what more is said both on the record and anonymously over the next week by others “in the know.”

Burning bridges when you may need every one of them to escape from John Durham seems a bad idea. It should be interesting to see how Weissmann's compulsion to settle scores plays out.

UPDATE: Re Aaron Zebley, you can find earlier posts that discuss his activities and connections here.


  1. Is it score settling? Or is it a preemptive attack on the credibility/integrity of a guy Weissmann thinks will be a witness against him?

    1. In a situation like this it strikes me as unwise to conduct a preemptive attack.

    2. We are in violent agreement on that point. But of course, if Andrew Weissmann were wise, he wouldn't be one of, if not the, only federal prosecutors to be rebuked by a unanimous SCOTUS.

    3. I am of the opinion that the predominant pathology that drives the left is malignant narcissism. Weissmann can in no way stop himself.

    4. It's malignant narcissism of a striking sort, that of pseudo-educated brats' ego-trips, of sneering at their "social inferiors".
      So many of these types are (almost, or utterly) Empty Nesters, who have nothing to live for, but their hate of Deplorables.

    5. Mouse: “hate of Deplorables.”

      I think you mean: “hatred of Deplorables.”


    6. @Anonymous

      "Weissmann can in no way stop himself."

      An all too common, but all too fatal, flaw in those who believe themselves smarter than the rest of us.

  2. He is trying to sell a book and the Atlantic “article” is a sale’s pitch.

    Of course, you have to read the book to see what more they could have done.

    Anyway, his thinking as evidenced by the article is that Trump is Orange Man Bad and Mueller should have done even more to violate Trump’s and his campaign staff and the staff of his administration’ civil rights and totally eviscerate the Constitution.

    - TexasDude

  3. I believe he was talking about George Meade at Gettysburg, McClellan was fired after he failled to destroy Lee at Sharpsburg.

    Weissman has an ego so big, it deserves its own area code.

    Rob S

    1. Good catch, Unknown.

      Someone corrected SWC on that point on twitter, and SWC acknowledged the mistake.

  4. The Inside Story of the Mueller Probe’s Mistakes: starting the Mueller probe in light of the absence of any credible evidence...

  5. Zebley is no saint, despite the attacks on him by Wiessmann. He approved the FBI/Gestapo raids on Manafort and Stone, which tells you everything you need to know about his character and integrity. They were all playing for keeps and everyone knew that the Crossfire Hurricane predicate was completely bogus, so they shifted gears to obstruction entrapment as Plan B. As such, they all have blood on their hands and backstabbing each other to create a scapegoat is fully consistent with their moral and ethical depravity. They all will rot in Hell, but even that is not enough. Durham needs to make them pay in the present, or there will be more coup attempts in the future.

  6. "Where the law ends"... You'll find Andrew Weissmann.

  7. So, the illegal program that gave government contractors from the broader intelligence community access to FISA 702 databases from 2012-2016... Would the guy signing that MOU on the FBI's end be the General Counsel, Chief of Staff, or the Director?

    What were private citizens Zebley and Mueller doing in the White House meeting with the head of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board in late April 2016, less than a month after ADM Rogers launched an IG investigation into that unlawful program?

    1. I assume that all three would have had knowledge of the MOU.

  8. O/T

    As everyone here knows, eleven days ago (Sept 10) Lindsey Graham told Sean Hannity "We'll talk in about 10 or 12 days and we'll see if there is something else you can get mad about."

  9. Nothing about Weismann trying to settle a score with Sidney Powell?