Top Mueller deputy leaving office in sign Russia probe may be winding down

Top Mueller deputy leaving office in sign Russia probe may be winding down
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A top prosecutor investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties between President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE's campaign and Moscow is reportedly leaving special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's office and the Department of Justice.

NPR first reported reported Thursday that Andrew Weissmann will teach at New York University and work on public service projects. 

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office, told The Hill in an email: "Andrew Weissmann will be concluding his detail to the Special Counsel’s Office in the near future." 

Carr declined to comment further on the details of Weissmann's departure. 

NPR reported that the departure is a sign that Mueller and his team are nearing the end of their work.

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Weissmann, a top lieutenant to Mueller in the probe, took the lead in the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortBill Maher questions whether Democrats put 'too much trust' in Mueller report Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings CNN's Toobin: 'Swirl of suspicion' about more indictments not justified MORE. Manafort faces 7 1/2 years in prison after he was sentenced by a federal judge in Virginia last week and a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Trump has long decried the special counsel's investigation, often calling it a "witch hunt" and maintaining that his campaign did not collude with Russia. 

The special counsel has indicted, convicted or secured guilty pleas from several of Trump's former associates, including Manafort, informal Trump adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneBill Maher questions whether Democrats put 'too much trust' in Mueller report Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE, Trump's former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump, Congress brace for Mueller findings Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Kushner to cooperate with Judiciary document requests MORE and former deputy Trump campaign manager Richard Gates.

NPR noted that Weissmann's departure comes after a top FBI agent in the investigation, David Archey, left the special counsel's office earlier this month to start a new job in Richmond, Va. Multiple other prosecutors have also left the office in recent months, including Scott Meisler, Kyle Freeny and Brandon Van Grack.

Additionally, NPR reported that WilmerHale, the firm that Mueller and multiple other prosecutors left to join the special counsel, is expecting the return of some of its ex-partners.

Excluding Mueller, the special counsel's office now has 12 attorneys on staff.

At NYU, Weissmann — who years ago was part of the federal task force that investigated Enron — is expected to work on improving forensic science standards used in courts in an effort to reduce wrongful convictions, according to the network. 

Updated at 11:32 a.m.