This career lawyer seeks ways to stop Trump from issuing preemptive pardons
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has assembled a team of superprosecutors – including one whose presence may account in part for the methodical, thoroughgoing pace of the probe:
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a distinctly modern problem. The president, judging by his tweets, could try to pardon people in his circle even before prosecutors charge anyone with a crime.
Mueller’s all-star team of prosecutors, with expertise in money laundering and foreign bribery, has an answer to that. He’s Michael Dreeben, a bookish career government lawyer with more than 100 Supreme Court appearances under his belt.
Acting as Mueller’s top legal counsel, Dreeben has been researching past pardons and determining what, if any, limits exist, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dreeben’s broader brief is to make sure the special counsel’s prosecutorial moves are legally airtight. That could include anything from strategizing on novel interpretations of criminal law to making sure the recent search warrant on ex-campaign adviser Paul Manafort’s home would stand up to an appeal.
“He’s seen every criminal case of any consequence in the last 20 years,” said Kathryn Ruemmler of Latham & Watkins LLP, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama. “If you wanted to do a no-knock warrant, he’d be a great guy to consult with to determine if you were exposing yourself.”
And here’s a compliment to Dreeben you can take to the bank:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that when Dreeben approaches the lectern at the Supreme Court, “I know he will tell it straight.”