Trump Sets up Republicans to Blame Mueller for Possible Midterm Defeat
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Paul Manafort just got very bad news from a federal court
16 May 2018, 07:04 | Erica Roy
Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's case will go to trial
Manafort had argued that since the charges Mueller brought against him stemmed from Ukraine lobbying work predating the 2016 campaign, they were outside the scope of the Russian collusion investigation for which Mueller had been appointed. On May 4, Ellis ordered Mueller's prosecutors two weeks to provide "completely unredacted versions of [Deputy Attorney General] Rosenstein's orders assigning special counsel Mueller" before he would make a decision on keeping the Manafort indictment or dismissing it.
A federal judge in Washington ruled Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller was working within his authority when he brought charges against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.
Jackson previously had thrown out a civil case Manafort brought challenging Mueller's authority.
Rosenstein "expressly approved the Special Counsel's investigation of the facts alleged in the indictment, so there has been no violation of the regulations, and the Special Counsel did not act without authority", she wrote.
Manafort's lawyers' previous push for dismissal hinged on the argument that because the crimes in question do not directly relate to Mueller's core mandate - investigating whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow - he was not authorized to charge Manafort with them.
Manafort's defense filed a motion with U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III stating the release of the information threatened his ability to receive a fair trial.
Manafort, Jackson said, was not merely associated with President Donald Trump's campaign but served as its chairman for a time.
He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, none of which are directly related to work he performed for Mr Trump's campaign.
Later in the opinion, the judge clearly says that it was squarely within Mueller's scope to pursue Manafort's links to Russian Federation.
"The Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", she wrote later in the opinion.
Jackson said the case against Manafort should proceed even if scrutiny of his past activity came about not from the investigation of "links" to Russian but rather as a "matter that arose" from that probe.
Jackson said Justice Department regulations allow for a "broad grant of authority".
Manafort also faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia.
Although Trump's new attorney Rudy Giuliani suggested the delay had more to do with the leak of Mueller's potential questions for Trump, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Michael Cohen's office and Trump's upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, there was still a reason to pay close attention to Manafort.
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