In a sharp rebuke of those claims, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had followed all the Justice Department's rules when he hired Mueller and Mueller's case against Manafort is not overly broad or improper.
"First, the indictment falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel that Manafort finds unobjectionable: the order to investigate 'any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign, '" she continued.
The ruling marks a setback for Manafort, who last month was buoyed when another USA judge in Virginia who is hearing the tax charges against him questioned prosecutors about whether their case went beyond the mandate of Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. "Who had connections to the Russian government?"
Manafort is scheduled for trial in DC in September. Manafort has asked a different federal judge there to dismiss his case on similar grounds.
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said, "Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter".
The special counsel's office declined to comment on Jackson's memorandum opinion.
Manafort's defense lawyer, former MIller & Chevalier partner Kevin Downing, has stressed that the alleged misconduct predated the 2016 presidential campaign and therefore was outside Mueller's authority.
He faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia, for a trial set to begin in July.
In her ruling on Tuesday, Jackson expressed no such qualms about Mueller's authority.
"The appointment order here purports to give the Special Counsel power to investigate a specifically identified matter and anything that arises in the course of the investigation, without further consulting or obtaining approval from the Attorney General or Acting Attorney General", a filing by Manafort's lawyer read.
In her 37-page ruling, Jackson went through a point-by-point rejection of Manafort's arguments, including his contention that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate anything "he may stumble across".
Later that day, Trump praised Judge Ellis as "really something very special.he's a respected person" during his address to the National Rifle Association. Previously Law&Crime speculated that maybe Trump might be waiting to see how the Manafort cases in EDVA and D.C. would shake out before making a decision about speaking to Mueller.
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