MSNBC added to its roster of former government officials-turned-analysts on Wednesday with the hiring of Andrew Weissmann, one of the lead investigators on the special counsel’s probe.
Weissmann, who earned the nickname of Robert Mueller’s “pit bull,” made his debut as a legal analyst on the liberal network to discuss testimony given in the Trump impeachment hearings.
Weissmann joins a stable of MSNBC analysts that includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI assistant director for Frank Figliuzzi, and Malcolm Nance, a former intelligence officer who has pushed the now-debunked conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.
On the special counsel’s team, Weissmann handled the case against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was convicted on financial crimes related to money he received while consulting for the Ukrainian government years before he joined the Trump team.
Conservatives were highly critical of Weissmann’s position on the Mueller team due to his previous political support for Democrats. He has contributed to Democrats’ political campaigns, and reportedly attended a party on election night for Hillary Clinton.
Weissmann, who was chief of the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section, also took part in a meeting before the 2016 election with Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who served as a link between the FBI and Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the anti-Trump dossier.
In two segments on Wednesday, Weissmann largely praised Democrats’ handling of the hearings, while accusing Republicans of raising “a lot of confusion” in questions to the two witnesses, Amb. Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent.
Weissmann called Rep. Adam Schiff’s opening statement “excellent,” but also said that Democrats failed to make the case that President Trump was “cheating on our election” in his dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I would have spent less time about what it meant for Ukraine and sort of American policy and a little bit more on the fact that what the president…was doing was cheating on our election,” Weissmann told MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
Melber ended his interview with Weissmann with a touching send-off.
“In all candor and sincerity, as an attorney, I can say a lot of attorneys view you as a legend,” the host said.
Weissmann also appeared on “Meet the Press Daily,” hosted by Chuck Todd, to analyze the hearing.
“They raised a lot of confusion,” he said of Republicans. “That’s what you do if you are the defense counsel in a case, and you don’t have the facts on your side, you make as many sort of confusing points as possible.”
With its latest hire, MSNBC inches closer to CNN in terms of hiring former government officials as on-air analysts. CNN’s roster includes former national intelligence director James Clapper, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI general counsel Jim Baker, and a slew of former FBI and intelligence officials.
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