A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia just delivered a major blow to Robert Mueller’s Russia witch-hunt.
The judge, who is hearing the case regarding President Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort has one very serious question for Mueller’s team…..
A question so important, that it’s likely to derail Mueller’s case.
The judge wants to know……what do the charges against Manafort have to do with Russia?
From Washington Examiner
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The federal judge hearing the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort presses Justice Department lawyers on Friday to explain why they think they did not exceed the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling.
Manafort’s own lawyers argued that Mueller has gone too far by seeking charges relating to Manafort’s actions that took place well before he worked with Trump. And in Alexandria, Va., Friday morning, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III sounded sympathetic to those arguments.
“This investigation that had led to this indictment … has nothing to do with Russia or the campaign,” said Ellis.
The judge consistently pushed back against Michael Dreeben, the deputy solicitor general who was arguing on behalf of Mueller, to explain why the charges he was pursing related to bank and tax fraud charges dating back to 2005 and 2007.
Dreeben admitted that Manafort had been under federal government watch before the appointment of Mueller in May 2017, and which time his team took over the investigation, but made it a point that the special counsel is still part of the Justice Department.
“We are the Justice Department. We are not separate,” Dreeban said.
But Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing argued that the special counsel was operating with “unfettered power.” At one point, Manafort leaned over to mouth those two words to his defense counsel as the government was arguing. Ellis picked up on that term.
“We don’t want anyone with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you are going to persuade me the special counsel has unlimited power,” Ellis said. “The American people feel very strongly about anyone having unfettered power.”
Ellis did not decide whether to dismiss the charges against Manafort, and instead said he wants to see an unredacted copy of the Aug. 2, 2017, memo signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The memo, signed by Rosenstein, was made public in federal in Washington, and details Mueller’s jurisdiction beyond the May 17, 2017, public memo originally appointing the special counsel.