Federal Judge In Manafort Trial Scolds Mueller Prosecutors Over Their Actual Motivation

Posted May 05, 2018

During Friday's hearing, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis accused Mueller's team of lying about the scope of the Russian Federation investigation.

Dreeben said the investigations were "folded together with our overall examination of Mr. Manafort's conduct", and he was indicted based on information developed by Mueller as they followed the trail of money that left Ukraine. He said that Mueller improperly took over existing Justice Department investigations into Manafort without adequately explaining what connection it had to the Russian Federation probe.

The letter also includes questions the senators have about Mr. Lutsenko's office allegedly preventing the issuing of subpoenas to collect evidence and interview witnesses in four open cases related to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

When Michael Dreeben of the special counsel's office said the charges against Manafort fell under Mueller's original mandate, Ellis asked, "The scope covers bank fraud from 2005?"

Manafort's lawyers argued at a hearing in Alexandria that the charges are far afield from Mueller's mandate to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether any collusion occurred. The Virginia case charges him with offences including tax and bank fraud.

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Manafort's lawyers have tried to have the charges against him in both Virginia and Washington, D.C., federal court dismissed for several months now.

Ellis later quipped: "The vernacular is 'to sing'".

The Reagan appointee also suggested that the Mueller Team is pressuring or leveraging Manafort to flip on Trump, Politico noted.

"You don't really care about Mr Manafort's bank fraud", the judge, reportedly losing his temper, challenged lawyers from the office of special counsel.

"Your argument is that this is the scope of the investigation but we really didn't mean it and we weren't required to disclose it", Ellis said.

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"The operative question here is whether Manafort committed the crimes he's accused of and whether Mueller had the authority to charge them", said Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the Justice Department.

President Trump's former marketing campaign supervisor Paul Manafort smiles as he and his legal professional Kevin Downing depart U.S. District Courtroom after a motions listening to in Alexandria, Va., Might 4, 2018.

"Come on, man!" Ellis said.

"The American people feel pretty strongly about no one having unfettered power".

He added that he does not expect Ellis to use Mueller's motivation in bringing charges as the basis of any decision he makes, but that if he does, "he will be reversed". "The question now is whether or not the judge agrees Mueller was authorized to charge him".

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"Reading from an article on Ellis' remarks, Trump said: "'None of that information has to do with information related to the Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump'.