Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and business associate Rick Gates face money laundering and other charges as part of the special counsel's investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has just filed a lawsuit against Federal Bureau of Investigation special counsel Robert Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and the United States Department of Justice.
Paul Manafort has filed a lawsuit challenging the legal authority of special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russian Federation probe. "Prosecutors in Mr. Mueller's office have admitted that the Special Counsel's investigation of Mr. Manafort concerns conduct that has nothing to do with the charges in the Appointment Order's original jurisdiction clause", it states. Manafort claims that the Appointment Order that put Mueller in place was supposed to limit Mueller's authority to the Russian Federation investigation, yet it ended up giving him authority over "any matters that arose or may arise directly from" the Russian Federation probe.
That would make Trump and the conservatives who oppose the Mueller investigation really happy, but experts say it's unlikely to happen because Rosenstein purposefully didn't limit Mueller's duties in his appointment.
In May, Mueller was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign after Attorney General Jeff Session recused himself from the investigation.
Manafort claimed in the lawsuit that federal prosecutors and FBI agents interviewed him in 2014 to discuss his consulting activities overseas as part of an effort to assist the government of Ukraine to recover stolen property. A Justice Department spokesperson wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News: "The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants".
The complaint alleges: "Mr. Mueller's actions pursuant to the authority the Order granted him, were arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law".
According to the complaint, Mueller was given additional authority to pursue "any matters that arose or may arise from that investigation".
An Oct. 27 indictment accuses Manafort and a long-time associate, Rick Gates, of failing to register as agents in the USA for political consulting they performed for Ukraine and for pro-Russian politicians there. He has called on Mueller to treat him fairly, but the special counsel could choose to seek an indictment against the President if he finds incriminating evidence, according to CNN.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
Manafort was recruited to head Trump's presidential campaign in June 2016, but he stepped down two months later after allegations surfaced in Ukraine that he had been paid more than $12 million by Yanukovych's party.
Moscow has denied meddling in the 2016 U.S. election campaign. "Nor were they uncovered in the course of the Special Counsel's probe into President Trump's campaign".
Manafort also claims he told prosecutors about his offshore banking activity in Cyprus.
Instead, the executive branch - that is, the president - enacted a regulation that enables the attorney general to appoint a special counsel like Mueller.