Jun 11, 2017

Mueller adds muscle for Russia investigation

Jeff Chiu / AP

"The Worst Thing That Happened to Donald Trump this Week" — Paul Rosenzweig, on the Lawfare blog: Special counsel "Robert Mueller has hired Michael Dreeben, on a part-time basis, to help with his investigation. Dreeben, a deputy in the Office of the Solicitor General, has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court. His specialty has, for the last 20 years, been criminal matters and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of criminal law."

Be smart: Mueller is amassing the talent arsenal you'd build to bring criminal charges.

  • Why it matters: "[H]e is quite possibly the best criminal appellate lawyer in America (at least on the government's side). That Mueller has sought his assistance attests both to the seriousness of his effort and the depth of the intellectual bench he is building."
  • National Law Journal: "The move signals that Mueller is seeking advice on the complexities that have arisen already in the investigations, including what constitutes obstruction of justice."
  • Mueller's has had a spate of other high-octane hires, including Andrew Weissmann, chief of the fraud section of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
  • Weissmann was director of Justice's Enron Task Force, where he oversaw the prosecutions of Jeffrey Skilling, Ken Lay, and Andrew Fastow. While at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, Weissmann helped prosecute high-ranking members of the Genovese, Colombo and Gambino crime families, and fought the infiltration of organized crime on Wall Street.

Coming attractions ... Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was going to be pummeled with Russia questions during what was supposed to be a budget hearing before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, switched yesterday and will appear Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein will take his place answering appropriations questions. See Sessions' letter to the Intelligence Committee.
  • AP: "The House intelligence committee sent a letter Friday asking White House counsel Don McGahn whether any tape recordings or memos of Comey's conversations with the president exist now or had existed in the past."
  • "The committee also sent a letter to Comey asking for any notes or memos in his possession about the discussions he had with Trump before being abruptly fired last month. The committee is seeking the materials by June 23."

The takeaway: All these moves show the Russia probe will remain constantly in Washington's forefront.

Go deeper

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 40 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 704,095 — Total deaths: 33,509 — Total recoveries: 148,824.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 132,637 — Total deaths: 2,351 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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