Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort challenges special counsel's authority

Dutch Lawyer Is the First to Be Sentenced in Mueller Probe

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explicitly authorized the Justice Department's special counsel to investigate allegations that President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman colluded with the Russian government, according to a court filing.

Arguments for that case are scheduled for this Wednesday, before the same judge overseeing the criminal case against Manafort. Manafort claims that Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRosenstein taps longtime prosecutor as deputy Lawyer gets jail time in first sentence of Mueller probe DOJ authorized Mueller to investigate allegations Manafort colluded with Russia MORE's order past year appointing Mueller violated Justice Department policies.

Manafort has previously said the charges he faces in federal court in DC and Virginia have nothing to do with his work on the Trump campaign in 2016, and the White House has distanced Donald Trump's presidential campaign from Manafort.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team of prosecutors included that detail in a memo defending the scope of their investigation, which so far has resulted in criminal charges against 19 people and three Russian companies. The charges against him include conspiring to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, bank fraud and filing false tax returns.

It's no fun getting indicted, but the last few months have been busy for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman charged in connection to his work with the Ukrainian government.

The new filings show that Rosenstein specifically approved lines of investigation for the special counsel in an August 2017 memo. Downing turned around to look at Manafort, then said forcefully, "Never".

"I don't really understand what is left of your case", Berman reportedly told Manafort's attorney, Kevin Downing.

The Ukrainian connections and payments form the basis of the federal criminal charges Manafort now faces.




This scope, according to the now-public memo, includes looking at whether Manafort colluded with Russian government officials in its effort to interfere with the 2016 USA presidential election, along with the allegations contained in the existing indictments against him concerning crimes that arose from payments he received for the work he did on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

The challenge failed, however, and Deaver was convicted of lying under oath to Congress. Siding with the government in this case, the D.C. Circuit held that the rules governing criminal procedure provide adequate remedies for defendants to challenge the charges against them.

In Ukraine, Manafort worked on behalf of Russia-backed President Viktor Yanukovych and had personal business dealings with Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska.

They also noted that Rosenstein has said publicly that he is supervising the investigation closely and that he does not believe Mueller has exceeded his authority.

Appearing before Jackson on Wednesday, Downing argued that an injunction is necessary to guard against the possibility of future prosecutions in additional jurisdictions. Justice Department lawyer Daniel Schwei brushed off the memo, saying it didn't have any bearing on the purely legal arguments about why Manafort couldn't bring a civil lawsuit.

Mueller's team attached the memo in an April 2 brief that opposes Manafort's motion to dismiss his criminal indictment.

But one section isn't redacted: The investigation Mueller could pursue against Manafort, with the Department of Justice's backing.

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