May 20, 2018

Federal Judge Casts Doubt On Mueller's Case Against Manafort

05 May 2018, 01:23 | Rufus Hill

Federal Judge Questions Mueller's Powers in Manafort Case

Robert Mueller Paul Manafort blank subpoenas

Lawyers working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III have in response revealed some details of the secretive probe, including portions of a memorandum authorizing Mueller to investigate whether Manafort illegally coordinated with Russian Federation in 2016.

During a hearing in which Manafort was seeking the dismissal of one of the two indictments against him in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling, Ellis speculated that prosecutors had charged him to get him to flip against Trump. The special counsel's office was given two weeks to deliver an unredacted version of a Justice Department memo authorizing Mueller's work.

He also demanded to see the un-redacted memo outlining the scope of the Special Counsel's Russian Federation probe, which congressional Republicans have also sought.

While speaking to the NRA at a conference in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Trump read out Ellis's remarks and said that he felt sympathy for Manafort, and agreed with Ellis about Mueller's motivation. Manafort's team has denied he conspired or colluded with any Russian intelligence or government officials.

"This indictment didn't arise from your investigation", Ellis said.

"We don't want anyone with unfettered power", Ellis said. Ellis repeatedly interrupted Dreeben as he pressed for an explanation of Mueller's authority.

Legal experts and former Justice Department prosecutors immediately raised questions about Ellis's comments.

If the attorney is accurate, it delivers another credibility blow to the Democratic Party-financed dossier, which accuses Mr. Manafort of orchestrating Trump-Russia collusion.

"This reported refusal to cooperate with the Mueller probe also sends a worrying signal - to the Ukrainian people as well as the global community - about your government's commitment more broadly to support justice and the rule of law", the senators wrote.

Ellis withheld ruling on the motion and will issue a written ruling at a later date.

Manafort's lawyers argued Friday for the dismissal of the Virginia indictment, saying that the charges should be tossed out because they do not relate specifically to the Russian Federation investigation and the question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the 2016 presidential race in Trump's favor.

He summed up the Special Counsel's Office as, "We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it and we were lying".

"I'll be the judge of that", Ellis said.

The judge's questions suggested he was impatient with Breeden and the three prosecutors sitting at the table.

"We are not operating with unfettered power", Breeden replied.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Breeden said the Manafort case is different.

Among the many topics Trump would cover, it is notable that he made reference to an incident that took place in a Virginia court earlier in the day at a hearing in the Paul Manafort case.

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