Manafort sues DOJ, Mueller over Russia probe authority

Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman indicted on money laundering and other charges, filed a lawsuit cha...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 6:42 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 6:42 AM

Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman indicted on money laundering and other charges, filed a lawsuit challenging the broad authority of special counsel Robert Mueller and alleging the Justice Department violated the law in appointing Mueller.

The suit brought Wednesday in US District Court in Washington, where Manafort and another former Trump campaign aide are charged, challenges Mueller's decision to charge Manafort with alleged crimes that they say have nothing to do with the 2016 campaign, but rather relate to lucrative lobbying work Manafort and his deputy did for a former Russia-friendly government in Ukraine. That work ended in 2014, the suit says. Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates deny the allegations in the charges.

The legal action represents a new tack in a broader effort by supporters of the President to push back on the special counsel. Some Republicans have begun publicly calling for Mueller's probe to be shut down. Manafort's attorneys have echoed the President's criticism that Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is pursuing crimes that never happened.

The Manafort lawsuit alleges Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller have unlawfully exceeded the authorities allowed under the law governing special counsel appointments. The lawsuit contends that the order Rosenstein signed to appoint Mueller "exceeds the scope of Mr. Rosenstein's authority to appoint special counsel as well as specific restrictions on the scope of such appointments."

A DOJ spokesperson responded with a statement, saying: "The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants."

The lawsuit also includes new information on the scope of Mueller's probe: In August, the Mueller prosecutors issued more than 100 subpoenas related to Manafort, the lawsuit alleges.

Some of those subpoenas seek records from as early as 2005. In August, a prosecutor from Mueller's office told Manafort that he'd be prosecuted for alleged crimes dating back to 2010, the complaint says. When Manafort's lawyers asked Rosenstein in fall 2017 for clarification on whether Mueller's team had the go-ahead to broaden the investigation into earlier years, they heard nothing back, the complaint says. Manafort's indictment includes actions he took from 2006 to 2014.

In previous court filings, prosecutors said they've collected 400,000 documents related to Manafort and Gates' case, and identified 2,000 of those documents as especially relevant.

The lawsuit's focus is on a part of the Rosenstein order that says that Mueller may investigate "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." The Manafort lawyers say that goes beyond what the law allows Rosenstein to empower Mueller to do.

The Rosenstein order gives Mueller "carte blanche to investigate and pursue criminal charges in connection with anything he stumbles across while investigating, no matter how remote from the specific matter identified as the subject of the appointment order," the lawsuit says.

The Manafort lawsuit alleges that even if Rosenstein's order is lawful, Mueller has exceeded his authority.

It also says that Manafort met in 2014 with the Justice Department and the FBI in the government's investigation of his client, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, ousted amid street protests that year. The Manafort suit claims the government told Manafort he was a witness in the investigation. The special counsel has now charged Manafort with conduct he had already voluntarily disclosed, the lawsuit says.

Manafort "voluntarily met with DOJ prosecutors and FBI agents to discuss his offshore political consulting activities" in July 2014, the complaint says. At that time, the Justice Department told him they were working with Ukraine to locate stolen assets and focused on a former Ukrainian president, according to the complaint.

"The office of the special counsel charged Mr. Manafort with the very conduct he voluntarily disclosed to DOJ almost three years prior to the appointment of Mr. Mueller as special counsel," the complaint says.

Manafort's lawsuit notes that during his time working for the Ukrainian government he met regularly with the US ambassador in Kiev, suggesting that the US government knew what he was doing at the time.

The suit also cites the July FBI raid on Manafort's home, in which the special counsel team said it was seeking records of possible financial crimes dating to January 2006 -- a decade before the presidential campaign Mueller is investigating.

Manafort and Gates face a total of 12 criminal charges related to money laundering and failure to file federal disclosures. Both Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear again before the judge in the criminal case on January 16.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 177134

Reported Deaths: 2467
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35310570
Washington23704229
Marion20393299
Clackamas15557204
Lane11802144
Jackson10077129
Umatilla800083
Deschutes731272
Linn422263
Yamhill413675
Klamath357159
Polk348452
Malheur343358
Josephine310062
Douglas306566
Benton277719
Jefferson207732
Coos198631
Columbia156126
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130428
Hood River113529
Morrow108415
Clatsop9078
Crook89519
Baker86714
Curry6049
Tillamook5883
Grant4304
Lake4177
Harney3156
Wallowa1585
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3725088

Reported Deaths: 61193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122999823702
Riverside2976314547
San Bernardino2951314569
San Diego2756313681
Orange2692584902
Santa Clara1173792019
Kern1080611333
Sacramento1017871651
Fresno1007681650
Alameda856521477
Ventura803601002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus606491035
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41251560
San Francisco36117529
Santa Barbara33926445
Solano32086243
Merced31289453
Sonoma29734312
Imperial28024719
Kings22781245
Placer21957283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16301240
Santa Cruz15719204
Marin13868227
Yolo13581200
Shasta11747219
Butte11619196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598863
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399647
Humboldt365938
Amador363146
Lake341843
Glenn235925
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4297
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned470
Medford
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
Brookings
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 45°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 44°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 30°
Warm and windy Thursday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Wednesday, April 21st Evening Weather

Image

Wednesday, April 21 afternoon weather

Image

Tuesday, April 20th Evening Weather

Image

Tuesday, April 20 Morning Weather

Image

Monday, April 19th Evening Weather

Image

Sunday, April 18th Overnight Weather

Image

Raiders sweep No. 23 College of Idaho, extend win streak to 13

Image

Saturday, April 17 evening weather

Image

Saturday, April 17 morning weather

Image

New Southern Oregon Speedway promotors in dash to prepare track