Paul Manafort Trying to Stop Robert Mueller from Indicting Him So Much

Paul Manafort appears at a courthouse in Alexandria VA in March 2018. Mueller has indicted him in both Washington DC and Virginia.    
   Alex Wong  Getty

Downing disputed the extent of Manafort's ties to Russia - Manafort never had an office there, he said - and argued that the Russia section should be interpreted as only applying to activities related to the Trump campaign. He didn't specify what other types of charges he thought the special counsel might be investigating against Manafort.

A Justice Department attorney, Daniel Schwei, argued that Manafort can't use a civil lawsuit to attack Mueller's authority.

Manafort's lawyer is expected to argue that Mr Rosenstein's order hiring Mr Mueller is overly broad and not permitted by law because it gives the special counsel carte blanche to probe "any matters that arose or may arise" from his investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was authorized by a top Justice Department official to investigate whether Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, illegally coordinated with Russian Federation to interfere in the 2016 election, new court filings show.

The argument came at a hearing this morning in the civil analogue to Manafort's criminal prosecution.

Manafort sued the Department of Justice (DOJ), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller in January, arguing that the charges against him should be dismissed and that Mueller's Russian Federation investigation stepped out of bounds.

What's more, they said that while Rosenstein's public order appointing Muellerlast May did not name individual subjects, Rosenstein specifically authorized the Manafort probe in the follow-up August memo.

Arguments for that case are scheduled for this Wednesday, before the same judge overseeing the criminal case against Manafort.

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Justice Department attorney Daniel Schwei urged Jackson meanwhile to rely on D.C. Circuit precedent in Deaver v. Seymour, which says civil suits can not be used to interfere with criminal proceedings.

He has been charged with a number of felony counts related to financial offenses - including money laundering, fraud and tax evasion, as well as for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist - in connection with his decade of work on behalf of a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party before joining Trump's campaign.

"Yes, of course", Downing said.

This scope, according to the now-public memo, includes looking at whether Manafort colluded with Russian government officials in its effort to interfere with the 2016 USA presidential election, along with the allegations contained in the existing indictments against him concerning crimes that arose from payments he received for the work he did on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

Downing said that he couldn't cite any cases and that his was the first challenge of its type. The filing explicitly states that the special prosecutor's mandate "would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs". Kilimnik is alleged The Rosenstein memo also gives the special prosecutor the power to "look into any interactions they may have had before and during the campaign to plumb motives and opportunities to coordinate and to expose possible channels for surreptitious communications".

Mueller, who was appointed by Trump's Justice Department in May, has brought indictments against 19 people and three Russian companies. "And prosecutors would naturally follow the money trail from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting activities".

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