Drew Forum Welcomes Legal Expert Andrew Weissmann

Weissmann is a professor of practice, a New York Times best-selling author, and popular podcast host

April 2024 – Drew University welcomed legal expert and Professor of Practice at NYU Andrew Weissmann as the final Drew Forum speaker of the spring 2024 semester.

This event was generously supported by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. 

Weissmann, co-host the podcast “Prosecuting Donald Trump”, New York Times best-selling author, and legal analyst for NBC/MSNBC, offered insights into the pressing legal questions in America in a Q&A moderated by Carlos Yordan, associate professor of political science and international relations and director of the New York Semester on the United Nations.

The former lead prosecutor of the Robert S. Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office explained topical issues like President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump’s classified document cases, the Supreme Court’s role in current high-profile legal matters, Donald Trump’s ongoing legal trials, and where America stands as a result.

Some quick soundbites:

On how America is handling Trump’s various trials: “We always think of American exceptionalism. But if I were grading how we’re doing in terms of handling a criminal prosecution of a former leader, it would be pretty close to an F. And a lot of countries that we don’t look up to have done much better.”

On foreign election interference: “It should be an apolitical problem. It’s not, because we have people who think ends justify the means, which is, ‘As long as the foreigners are helping me, I don’t care.’ It’s a very transactional way of thinking and it’s obviously still a huge problem. You have a huge confluence of somebody who has an enormous interest in winning because they can rid themselves of two criminal trials and two state trials.”

On how election interference has progressed: “I think a big problem is that whatever foreign seeds were planted in 2016 have now domesticated. So, yes, there’s still a problem of foreign interference. There’s still a problem of trying to exacerbate our divisions. And to be clear, that was the goal in 2016. But I think that is coming from inside the house now…we have regular people who are not dealing with facts.”

On Trump’s recent attacks on a New York judge’s gag order: “I’m going to make a very controversial statement: You can run for president and not threaten a judge or their family. I just think when history is written, the fact that that is not universally condemned…it’s very hard to understand how that’s acceptable. In my work on MSNBC, it really shouldn’t be considered a badge of honor for someone to go on and say, ‘Well, I just want to make it very clear that I’m against violence.’ That’s great…”

On his roles as a professor, analyst, author, and speaker: “What is going on in the legal system right now is so important for the public to understand, to not feel like they don’t have the right tools to understand. I think about what I do as trying to help translate.”

Weissmann’s new book, The Trump Indictments, published in February 2024 and is available now, including at the Drew University Bookstore.

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