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The lead prosecutor for special counsel Robert Muller's investigation offered an analysis on MSNBC after Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to fifteen charges on Thursday as part of a plea agreement that will result in a five-month sentence to Rikers Island Prison Complex.
MSNBC's Katy Tur interviewed NYU Law professor Andrew Weissmann, who served as chief of the fraud section at the Department of Justice prior to his appointment to Mueller's team. He had also previously served as general counsel for the FBI.
Weissmann noted Georgetown Law professor Paul Butler had listed the state and federal investigations Trump is known to be facing.
Weissmann said, "I think the sleeper case here is the Manhattan D.A.'s office. You know, I think that it isn't getting enough attention and there are a lot of telltale signs in that case that the Manhattan D.A.'s office is not done with Weisselberg or Donald Trump in the way that it's particularly crafted."
Tur asked Weissmann to, "expand on why you think that this is so intriguing."
Weissmann noted that Weisselberg will have to testify at the Oct. 24th trial of the Trump Organization.
"It seems very, very hard to testify truthfully in that case and not implicate Donald Trump," the former prosecutor explained. "We're not talking about a huge company like Exxon or JPMorgan, we're talking about a small family-owned company and the scheme was so rampant with signatures by Donald Trump himself, I think that he has very reputable lawyers who are going to tell him if you want your five-month deal, you have to be truthful in front of the judge who is ultimately going to sentence you."
"So i think it would be very hard not to implicate Donald Trump," Weissmann continued. "But the second thing that I found really telling is there was no coverage provision here. And what i mean by that is a typical defendant asked the government I will plea to x, y and z but I need to know this is it, I'm not going to get charged again. So what you normally see is the defendant pleading but the government putting on the record that this covers a whole host of potential crimes. In this case what you would have expected to see is something that said that this covers any and all crimes that Allen Weisselberg may have committed as part of the Trump Organization. That was not in there."
"That is not something that — these are such good lawyers that he has, we're not dealing with sort of the run-of-the-mill people that you see in sort of Trump world, these are really first-rate lawyers — they clearly had to have asked of that," he continued. "To me, that is a tell that there is more that the Manhattan D.A.'s office has up their sleeve."
"Time will tell whether I'm right, but it is striking to me that there wasn't that coverage language," Weissmann concluded.
Watch video below
Andrew Weissmann www.youtube.com
Mueller prosecutor explains why Trump probably shouldn't have suggested the FBI search was about Russiagate
Former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann responded Thursday after former President Donald Trump highlighted a "memorandum on declassification."
On Truth Social, Trump posted a link to his archived White House news site saying in a memo that he declassified a lot of material related to the Russia investigation, which was code named Crossfire Hurricane. The memo was posted less than 24 hours before Trump left the White House.
"So, I don't think if I were his counsel — I'm not sure I would have told him that it was a good thing to release that for a number of reasons," said Weissmann. "One, it's simply not a defense. I mean, we've talked a lot about the fact that the statutes involved here do not require the documents to be classified."
"Two, it's highly unlikely that all of the documents that were at Mar-a-Lago all relate to Crossfire Hurricane," said the skeptical former Justice Department lawyer. "To say highly unlikely is generous. But the main issue and the reason I think it really hurts him is that the document shows that Donald Trump knows how to declassify things and what the process is."
It ultimately makes Trump look worse if he's well versed in how to classify and declassify information and it turns out he didn't go through any of the processes actually to declassify something. There are already communications with the FBI, Department of Justice and now a formal White House memo all creating a paper trial for Trump's behavior.
"So, it really belies the claim made that there was some spontaneous standing order where if you move documents from one room in the White House to another room things become declassified," Weissmann explained.
See the full conversation below.
Trump's really stupid misstep www.youtube.com
The woman front and center in a Republican Governors Association ad attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs has ties to QAnon-related events and has spread conspiracy theories about COVID-19.
The ad, titled “Traci,” features a San Tan Valley woman named Traci Hansen who in the ad calls herself an “advocate for human trafficking victims” and says that human traffickers are coming across the border into Arizona.
But Hansen’s advocacy work in the human trafficking arena appears limited. She has no ties to legitimate groups that combat human trafficking. But she did participate in a QAnon-adjacent march on the Arizona Capitol in July 2020.
“Having 6 daughters, I am passionate about children, especially little girls. But being a mother of six also means that I am not always able to be as physically involved as I would like,” Hansen said in a written statement to the Arizona Mirror that was sent through the RGA. “One day my life will allow me to fulfill the dreams I have to physically help victims of human trafficking to a larger capacity, but right now speaking up and using my voice absolutely makes me an advocate.”
Gov. Doug Ducey is the co-chair of the RGA.
The RGA and Hansen did not respond to additional requests for clarification on why they chose Hansen for the ad or why they did not cite human trafficking groups in their criticism of Hobbs.
QAnon and election fraud
When the Mirror asked Hansen about her experience as an advocate, she responded through the RGA and pointed to a march that she participated in that happened at the Arizona state Capitol to “raise awareness about the truth of human trafficking happening right here in Phoenix.”
That march was organized by local conspiracy theorist Adel Belgaied, who organized several “Save the Children” events. Belgaied, who Hansen specifically mentioned in her email to the Mirror, was also a Stop the Steal organizer.
Belgaied was a frequent presence at protests at the Maricopa County Elections Department often spreading mistruths about the election. His other priority was to “Save the Children,” a mantra that helped mainstream many QAnon beliefs.
Hansen cited creating t-shirts to raise money for organizations as one of the ways she advocated for victims of human trafficking.
One of the organizations that she said received the funds was Operation Underground Railroad. The group has a checkered past and itself embraced QAnon when the #SaveTheChildren hashtag began gaining popularity. The group was found to be fabricating statistics and has been under criminal investigation related to alleged investigations that never took place.
Hansen said she also has helped raise $3000 for the Streetlight Foundation and assembled kits for law enforcement to give to victims of human or sex trafficking. The only public evidence the Mirror could find of Hansen’s work were two Facebook posts. One was from CeCe’s Hope Center thanking Hansen for an event to assemble kits for victims. The other was a post by Hansen advertising “Save the Children” t-shirts.
“The few fundraisers and events I put together were amazing and beneficial to victims and survivors, but I’ve also been able to speak and educate a lot of people and spread awareness on this matter,” Hansen said to the Mirror in her statement. “Advocating isn’t always ‘how much money do you donate’ or ‘what physical actions do you take.’ It comes in different capacities and the main focus should be on the victims and how we can fight human trafficking. Not focusing on the capacity at which someone advocates.”
According to a federally funded report, the vast majority of human trafficking victims come from local sources. Oftentimes, local gangs are involved in the coercion of young teens in high schools. Nationwide, QAnon is causing issues for real world anti-sex trafficking efforts and has complicated education on those issues for researchers when it gets tangled up within the depths of QAnon, which posits there is a global ring trafficking children for sex and demonic rituals that is controlled by a sinister cabal of elites.
Hansen has also spread conspiracy theories online about COVID-19. A post found by the Mirror found that Hansen shared the misinformation film “Plandemic,” one of the first viral coronavirus conspiracy theories, during the early days of the pandemic.
“Youtube (sic) keeps removing it but here is one that works,” Hansen wrote in the post. “Like they say, it’s time to wake up and be mad we’re losing our freedoms!”
The film was widely debunked and criticized for making countless unsubstantiated claims, including that the virus is “activated” by face masks. Hansen defended the film in comments on the post vigorously also claiming there was a “hidden agenda” behind the virus.
“The hidden agenda is a world government. For vaccine identification. For completely control of your life and mine,” Hansen wrote in one comment. She went on to claim that those speaking the “truth” are “mysteriously ‘committing suicide’ days later.”
Hansen also endorsed the anti-government sentiments of a friend who commented on the video that they may have to go “Captain Moroni” on the government.
Captain Moroni is a military commander in the Book of Mormon who who became angry at the government over its “indifference concerning the freedom of [its] country” and killed dissenters who did not support his view of freedom and liberty. Other notable anti-government extremists have quoted and used Captain Moroni as a figure during conflicts with the United States Government, including on Jan. 6.
“Right?” Hansen said to her friend asking about Moroni, adding, “Either way, we know how this ends. The truth and good will prevail. But it’s going to get ugly first. We’re just building up to all of that.”
Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.
NOW WATCH: Former US attorney calls for 'full investigation' after report Secret Service failed to share Pelosi threat
Former US attorney calls for 'full investigation' after report Secret Service failed to share Pelosi www.youtube.com