Manafort Sues Mueller, Justice Department Over Russia Investigation

  • Manafort Sues Mueller, Justice Department Over Russia Investigation

Manafort Sues Mueller, Justice Department Over Russia Investigation

US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort on Wednesday filed a legal complaint against the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who is investigating possible collusion between officials close to Trump and Russia, Deutsche Welle reported.

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman to Donald Trump in his 2016 bid for the White House, has issued a lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the special counsel investigating the campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation in an attempt to fend off a criminal trial now just four months away. That work finished in 2014, the suit says. Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates deny the allegations in the charges.

Trump himself has spent much of the past year insisting that the Mueller probe is a partisan witch-hunt meant to delegitimize his victory.

Moscow has denied meddling in the 2016 United States election campaign.

Under the terms of Rosenstein's order appointing Mueller, the special prosecutor cannot only probe links or coordination between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation but look into "any matters that arose or may arise directly" from the investigation.

The complaint alleges that the order violated "specific restrictions on the scope of such appointments".

A Justice Department statement dismissed the lawsuit as "frivolous", but also acknowledged that Manafort can sue whoever he wants.

The criminal case is still in its early stages - Manafort and Gates have been fighting in court most recently over the conditions of their release while the case is pending. In August, a prosecutor from Mueller's office disclosed to Manafort that he'd be arraigned for claimed wrongdoings going back to 2010, the grievance says. The Manafort lawyers say that goes beyond what the law allows Rosenstein to empower Mueller to do. It alleges that Rosenstein, Mueller, et al. have abused the Justice Department regulations governing the appointment of special counsels and their authority to investigate and criminally charge in his case, and seeks to have the actions of Mueller and Rosenstein declared ultra vires, or, without legal authority.

Robert Mueller, who was Federal Bureau of Investigation director under former president Obama, has produced no evidence that President Trump "colluded" with Russian Federation after a year-long probe.

Tough luck, Manafort. For better or for worse, one of the features of criminal prosecutions is that anything investigators uncover during the course of their work is fair game for further investigation. He said that during the interview, he discussed in detail his activities in Ukraine, his relationships with diplomats in Kiev and his offshore banking in Cyprus.

At issue is whether the scope of Rosenstein's order is too broad and runs afoul of the Justice Department's rules that establish procedures for hiring a special prosecutor.

Of all the legal stars working for Robert Mueller, the special counsel prosecuting crimes related to Russian interference in the presidential election, perhaps none shines brighter than Michael Dreeben.

"I know we, collectively, the lawyers, are looking forward to an expeditious wrapping up of this matter", Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for the President, told The Wall Street Journal a few days after the discussion with Mueller's team.