Since launching the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, special counsel Robert Mueller and his team have made significant headway in determining the scope of impact that Russian-linked agents may have had on impacting the outcome of the 2016 race. Not only have they been able to determine certain specific circumstances in which Russian meddling took place, the special counsel’s team has also been successful in linking members of the Trump campaign team to illicit and fraudulent activities, leading to the indictment of some top former members.
One individual that has been, arguably, at the forefront of the controversy is that of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as a windfall of uncovered evidence provided insight into his money laundering and tax fraud activities in relation to pro-Russia lobbying. Now, with Manafort left in a fairly desperate position, it is clear he is trying to do everything in his power to limit the forthcoming punishments, even if it means suing the special counsel in an attempt to limit the scope of their investigation.
According to a Reuters report:
‘A federal judge tore into all of the legal arguments that a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort made on Wednesday in his long-shot civil case to convince her that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has run amok and should be reined in.
‘Manafort filed a civil lawsuit on Jan. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who appointed the special counsel, in a key legal test of how far Mueller’s mandate extends.’
It would be an understatement to say the judge appeared skeptical today of Manafort's arguments in favor of moving ahead with his civil lawsuit challenging Mueller's appointment as special counsel https://t.co/dKfKnoaixZ
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) April 4, 2018
Manafort’s argument is an attempt to mitigate the ensuing sentencing that he will face at the hands of the Mueller team, claiming that the special counsel’s mandate does not provide the authority to investigate issues that predate the pre-campaign work that Manafort conducted.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson tore into the legal arguments Paul Manafort’s lawyer made to convince her that Mueller's investigation should be reined in: “I don't really understand what is left of your case.” https://t.co/eFuY1FfDok
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 4, 2018
Although there has yet to be an official ruling on Manafort’s civil case against the special counsel, the judge presiding over the case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, made it fairly clear that the far-reaching attempt will be futile in attempting to curtail the oncoming consequences. Manafort’s team is asking the courts to dismiss the suit against him, claiming that it lacks merit under Justice Department policies.
Boom! Manafort meets a judicial buzz saw.
“I don’t really understand what’s left of your case”, said Judge Bergman to Manafort’s attorney.
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) April 4, 2018
However, despite claims that Rosenstein’s appointment does not cover pre-campaign activities, a redacted memo that was filed Monday revealed that the deputy attorney general did, in fact, provide Mueller with the authority to investigate Manafort in relation to his work with Ukraine and Russia. This, coupled with the fact that Manafort’s business colleague Richard Gates has already plead guilty to two charges brought before him, provides an essentially worthless attempt by Manafort’s team to reduce the inevitable sentencing.
First sentence in Mueller probe. Judge rules Mueller didn't overstep his mandate which kills Manafort attempt to limit Mueller. When Manafort caves, and he will, is when this shit gets real. Trump will freak. He thinks Mueller gave him room today but his "not target" means squat.
— ernest lamonica (@ErnestLamonica) April 4, 2018
Nevertheless, despite the surmounting evidence and odds against him, Manafort remains steadfast in denying the charges brought against him, both in regards to the money laundering and tax fraud, as well as the broader allegations that he colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential race.
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