Who says Peter Carr, spokesman for the Mueller investigation, always gives “no comment”? This morning, Benjamin Wittes and I were writing a piece for The Atlantic, which included a line about the staffing of the special counsel’s office. President Trump often calls the office a “Gang of Angry Democrats.” In the president’s tweets, sometimes the gang has 17 members and sometimes it has 13. The New York Times more recently reported that there were 14 lawyers—although we deduced from other reporting the number is now more likely to be 12. We decided it would be prudent to write to the special counsel’s office to verify the number of “angry Democrats” on the Mueller team. So I did:
Hello Mr. Carr,
I and my colleague Benjamin Wittes are writing a piece for the Atlantic about reports that the special counsel’s investigation is “wrapping up.” The President has said that there are “17 Angry Democrats” working on the investigation and we are trying to get an accurate number.
Based on recent reporting by the New York Times and other outlets, we count that there are currently 12 lawyers on the team. Could you confirm the numbers of attorneys staffing the special counsel’s investigation?
Eight minutes later, I received an email from the famously reticent Carr, an email which confirmed that the number was 12 and included useful detail on who is currently working for the office. Carr’s email did not address either the lawyers’ emotional state or anger level or their partisan affiliations. Here is what he said:
Sure, thanks for reaching out to us. Apart from Mr. Mueller, we currently have 12 attorneys on staff:
- Zainab Ahmad, an attorney on detail from the Eastern District of New York
- Greg Andres, a former partner at Davis Polk, is a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
- Rush Atkinson, an attorney on detail from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section
- Michael Dreeben, an appellate attorney on detail from the Office of the Solicitor General
- Andrew Goldstein, an attorney on detail from the Southern District of New York
- Adam Jed, an appellate attorney on detail from the Civil Division
- Elizabeth Prelogar, an appellate attorney on detail from the Office of the Solicitor General
- James Quarles, a former partner at WilmerHale and a former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force
- Jeannie Rhee, a former partner at WilmerHale who has served in the Office of Legal Counsel and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
- Andrew Weissmann, an attorney on detail from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, who has served as general counsel at the FBI and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
- Aaron Zebley, a former partner at WilmerHale who has previously served with Mr. Mueller at the FBI and has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia
- Aaron Zelinsky, an attorney on detail from the District of Maryland.
Two other attorneys have returned to their prior positions within the Justice Department but continue to represent the office on specific pending matters that were assigned to them during their detail:
- Brandon Van Grack, an attorney with the National Security Division
- Scott Meisler, an appellate attorney with the Criminal Division