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 TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral 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 ManafortSenior Ukrainian official says he's opened probe into US election interference Mueller team asks court for delay, citing 'press of other work' Pollster says 'surprised' 37 percent of Republicans don't oppose Trump pardoning ex-associates 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 StoneOverwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll Trump seizes on poll that shows half agree Mueller investigation is a 'witch hunt' Judge sets Roger Stone trial for early November MORE, Trump's former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump: George Conway 'a whack job' Hill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain 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.