Court records confirm that Senior Justice Department prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann arranged meetings with the Associated Press in April 2016 to discuss Paul Manafort’s case before he was appointed to the Robert Mueller investigation.
The meeting was first reported on SaraACarter.com this past January but at that time it wasn’t certain who instigated the meeting. The newly released court documents that include a complaint the FBI filed against Weissmann and electronic communications offer the first indication that reached out to the AP.
According to sources, that meeting with the AP was attended by Weissmann, three different litigating offices, a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s office, and two employees from the U.S. Justice Department and the other representative was from the U.S. Attorney’s office. FBI agents were present for the meeting.
A memo written by FBI Supervisory Special Agent Karen Greenaway states, “The meeting was arranged by Andrew Weissmann” and then goes on to reveal that Weissmann provided instruction to the AP officials as to where they should look. According to Daily Caller, Weissmann suggested that the AP reporters ask a Cypriot government agency, the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority if it had provided the Department of Treasury with all of the documents they were legally authorized to provide regarding Manafort.
Weissmann, who has been described by the New York Times as Mueller’s “pit bull” is known for using borderline illegal tactics and has been having been reprimanded by the courts on several occasions for withholding exculpatory evidence.
Paul Manafort’s attorneys have requested a separate hearing concerning one of Weissman’s classic tactics—withholding information. Following the meeting with AP reporters, his team handed over 50,000 pages of new discovery materials to Manafort’s defense team only 19 days before his scheduled trial.
The meeting between DOJ and AP was first confirmed on June 29 during a pre-trial hearing at which FBI special agent Jeffrey Pfeiffer testified that the FBI may have conducted a May 2017 raid on a storage locker rented by Manafort. It is that storage locker that apparently contained the newly discovered material.
Manafort’s attorneys received the documents on June 29 and as part of a push for a hearing into possible leaks of sealed grand jury information, false reports, and potentially classified materials, and revealed them in a Virginia federal court filing.
In a motion requesting a hearing, Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing said:
“The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred. Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”
The meeting Weissmann arranged with AP reporters became known through a letter House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (Rep-CA) sent to Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, last year. Nunes’ letter requested specific DOJ and FBI documentation that was related to the questionable dossier commissioned by Fusion GPS that alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Manafort’s lawyers contend Weissmann’s disclosure of confidential grand jury information, false information, non-public information, and potentially classified materials was improper.
The Weissmann-AP meeting on April 11 involved AP reporters’ investigation of Manafort’s dealings with Ukrainian officials five years before Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency.
One of the main questions raised by conservatives and other observers is what the nature of the FBI’s relationship is and whether or not the AP leaked information to the Bureau or vice-versa.
This point of order is important because, according to the DOJ website, the FBI and Justice Department have strict guidelines both must follow when obtaining information or documents from the media. Those guidelines state:
Members of the Department may not employ the use of the investigative tool at issue until the Criminal Division has responded in writing. Accordingly, to ensure appropriate consideration, members of the Department should submit requests for authorization or consultation pursuant to this policy at least 30 days before the anticipated use of the covered law enforcement tool.
At the time of the meeting, FBI officials were not pleased with Weissmann. The Bureau issued a complaint to the Justice Department suggesting Weissmann didn’t follow proper procedures for dealing with journalists. The FBI was concerned the meeting might affect the ongoing probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Paul Manafort now awaits trial in solitary confinement. The Mueller investigation continues to play dirty and skirt the law in an effort to get a conviction—no matter if Manafort is guilty or not.
~ American Liberty Report