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 TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat MORE's campaign and Moscow is reportedly leaving special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 ManafortPresident Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks Free Roger Stone Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr 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 StonePresident Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms MORE, Trump's former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFree Roger Stone Trump calls the Russia investigation 'bulls---' CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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.