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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.