AP

Reuters is out with an interesting piece on Andrew Weissmann, the veteran federal prosecutor who's now working on Bob Mueller's investigative team:

"Weissmann, who headed the U.S. Justice Department's criminal fraud section before joining Mueller's team last month, is best known for two assignments — the investigation of now-defunct energy company Enron and organized crime cases in Brooklyn, New York — that depended heavily on gaining witness cooperation."

Behind-the-scenes: Trumpworld has been worried about Weissmann since they first got wind that Mueller added him to his team. I started getting phone calls from Trump associates about two weeks ago suggesting I look into his background.

Per Reuters, Weissmann is known for his skill at "flipping" witnesses — persuading them through high-stakes pressure to turn on friends, colleagues and superiors.

  • Example 1: "Kathryn Ruemmler, who served as White House counsel under former President Barack Obama ... recalled that Weissmann had a hunch that former Enron treasurer Ben Glisan would be willing to talk despite already having pleaded guilty without agreeing to cooperate. So Weissmann had U.S. marshals bring Glisan before the grand jury from prison...Other prosecutors might have feared Glisan's testimony could contradict their theory of the case, Ruemmler said, but Weissmann's gamble paid off when the former executive became a key witness.
  • Example 2: "Before his work relating to Enron, Weissmann served as a federal prosecutor in the organized crime bureau in Brooklyn. In 1997, he and trial partner George Stamboulidis brought down one of the country's most powerful mob bosses, Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, with the help of turncoat witnesses.

The top concern: Weissmann had a history of donating to Democrats. Shortly after that conversation Kellyanne Conway tweeted a CNN story that reported Weissmann "gave $2,300 to Obama's first presidential campaign in 2008 and $2,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2006, the same year Democrats won control of Congress."

More insight into Trumpworld suspicions: A source close to the White House raised another aspect of Weissmann's past. "He is a very troubling guy," he said. "The New York Observer went after Weissmann...As you may remember that is a paper that Jared owned...so is Weissmann going to have it out for this guy [Jared] and is this payback?"

To be clear: none of these concerns have been voiced to me by Jared Kushner or anyone who works for him.

Go deeper

Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 11,031,905 — Total deaths: 523,777 — Total recoveries — 5,834,337Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 2,788,395 — Total deaths: 129,306 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
15 hours ago - Sports

Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.