Paul Manafort Is Suing The Justice Department To regain Rid Of Special Counsel Robert Mueller
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort filed a lawsuit on Tuesday asking a judge to declare the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller invalid and to stop the criminal case Mueller’s team is pursuing against Manafort.
Manafort — who is facing a slew of criminal charges in connection with his past work abroad — is arguing that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein went too far when he gave Mueller authority in May to investigate not only any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but also any other things that “arose or may occur” from the investigation.
“The Appointment Order purports to grant authority to the Special Counsel to expand the scope of his investigation to novel things without the consent of — indeed, without even consulting — any politically accountable officer of the United States,” Manafort’s lawyers wrote.
Manafort wants a judge to declare Rosenstein’s original appointment order invalid, to block Mueller’s office from investigating issues external of Russian collusion, and to set aside “everything actions taken against Mr. Manafort pursuant to the Appointment Order.”
A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment. 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 lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia by the same lawyers representing Manafort in the criminal case, Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle.
Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates were charged in late October with money laundering, failing to report abroad bank accounts, failing to register as lobbyists for foreign entities, and making improper statements. They’ve pleaded not guilty.
The criminal case is still in its early stages — Manafort and Gates maintain been fighting in court most recently over the conditions of their release while the case is pending. The judge has yet to set a trial date.