An interesting twist is arising from the decision of Attorney General Barr to name an outside counsel, Jeffrey Jensen, to investigate the Michael Flynn case. The former top prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team says the ploy by Barr is a “ruse” so that the Department of Justice can open a new investigation into former FBI officials James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok.
Andrew Weissmann, a former Justice Department official who was known as Mueller’s “pit bull” during the Russia investigation, says that “all they did was swapped out a loser case for starting an investigation that is going to be of Comey, McCabe, Pete Strzok,” Weissmann told MSNBC host Chuck Todd. “Weissman is referring to the “loser” case of prosecuting former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for lying about media leaks during the Russia investigation.
Attorney General William Barr picked Jensen, the top federal prosecutor in St. Louis, to work alongside the Flynn case’s lead prosecutor Brandon Van Grack one month after the former Trump national security adviser filed to withdraw his guilty plea in Mueller’s investigation.
Weissmann, now an NBC News legal analyst, has defended the FBI while raising concerns about Barr, who faced criticism this week after he intervened in the case of Roger Stone, another Trump associate caught up in Mueller’s investigation. Barr is also under intense scrutiny for U.S. Attorney John Durham’s inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation, which critics claim is meant to discredit Mueller’s work.
He said Jensen’s appointment was “interesting” considering that the judge presiding over the Flynn case rejected claims that Flynn was set up by the FBI after seeing the facts about the underlying investigation. Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 for lying to investigators about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding U.S. sanctions and a United Nations Security Council vote.
“What I would love to know is what the factual predicate, given that Judge Sullivan has found nothing there,” Weissmann said.
I’m not sure the McCabe matter was a “loser” case. The Justice Department IG found that McCabe lied and he was fired from his job less than two weeks before retirement. He sounds guilty as hell to me, but the Washington two-step saved McCabe from trial.
I think Weissman is chasing ghosts. If there is a new investigation into those former FBI officials, Barr’s Justice Department wouldn’t need a “ruse” to look into them. This is especially true after John Durham’s investigation has begun a criminal inquiry into the origins of the Russian scandal. Right smack in the middle of that investigation are Comey and McCabe.