by WorldTribune Staff, January 16, 2018
Weeks before joining special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann met with reporters from The Associated Press where Weissman received information on the AP’s investigation into Paul Manafort, a report said.
Weissman met the journalists on April 11, 2017, investigative journalist Sara Carter reported on Jan. 11.
Carter noted that, a day after meeting with Weissman, AP published its “explosive expose” on Manafort.
“At the time of the meeting, Weissmann was head of the Justice Department’s fraud division,” Carter reported. “He was the most senior member of the Justice Department to join the special counsel in May.”
Carter cited sources as saying that Weissmann “had notified his superiors about the arranged meeting with the AP and at the time of the meeting he was not assigned to the Manafort probe and had no knowledge of the state of the investigation. Weissmann didn’t have access to grand jury materials, didn’t have access to reports and his role was solely to facilitate the meeting because the AP reached out to him.”
The sources added that “no commitment was made to assist the reporters with their investigation into Manafort’s life or activity.”
The Weissmann-AP meeting was noted in a letter sent to Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes “requesting specific FBI and DOJ documentation related to the controversial Fusion GPS dossier that alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Carter’s report said.
The Department of Justice on its website notes that the DOJ and FBI have specific guidelines that must be followed when obtaining documents or information from the media.
“Members of the Department may not employ the use of the investigative tool at issue until the Criminal Division has responded in writing,” the guidelines say. “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.”
Mueller spokesman Peter Carr “declined to comment on whether the AP shared documentation or information with Weissmann,” Carter’s report said. “He also declined to comment on whether Weissmann followed appropriate DOJ procedures for the meeting to obtain documentation.”
AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said “Associated Press journalists meet with a range of people in the course of reporting stories, and we refrain from discussing relationships with sources. However, the suggestion that AP would voluntarily serve as the source of information for a government agency is categorically untrue.”