Trump Aide Sues US Counsel Probing Alleged Russian Election Meddling


President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort sued Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday, alleging that his office's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation exceeds its legal authority.

Paul Manafort has filed a lawsuit challenging the legal authority of special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russian Federation probe.

Wisenberg pointed out that Manafort's lawyer concedes the attorney general or somebody acting in his place - in this case, Rosenstein - has the authority to set the special counsel's jurisdiction.

Mr. Mueller won the cooperation of Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, for instance, after investigating him for unregistered foreign lobbying and lying to the F.B.I. on matters unrelated to the election.

Manafort was indicted by Mueller's team in October on money laundering and tax charges, along with his business associate Rick Gates.

Attorneys for Manafort argued that Mueller's investigation "extended far beyond 'links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, '" including looking at Manafort's offshore business dealings dating back to 2005.

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.

Lobbyist Paul Manafort has filed a lawsuit against special counsel Robert Mueller and the US Department of Justice over his indictment, saying it violates the scope of Mueller's investigation into the 2016 election.

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If this all sounds a bit Alice in Wonderland, the straightforward explanation can be found in the federal regulations creating the special counsel.

To the extent there was any ambiguity in Mueller's May appointment order, Rosenstein said, he had given Mueller permission to include those matters in the investigation.

Manafort's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment, and a spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment.

Manafort's complaint also argues that the charges Mueller brought against him should be dropped because they involve activities that Mueller wasn't given the authority to investigate.

"Those alleged dealings had no connections whatsoever to the 2016 presidential election or even to Donald Trump", the lawsuit says. No special counsel should be given unlimited authority to investigate anything he wants with no oversight or accountability, and that's exactly the situation in which we now find ourselves with Mueller.

Mr Manafort was charged last October with conspiring to defraud the USA in his dealings with Ukraine.

"What Manafort is clearly trying to do here is shut off one of the avenues from Mueller to get into Trump's money, particularly as connected with Russians", Johnston said. Many House Republicans say that the special counsel's probe is tainted by political bias and that it will never give Trump a fair shake.

Manafort "voluntarily met with DOJ prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to discuss his offshore political consulting activities" in July 2014, the complaint says.