Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s free ride is over.
Now Trump and his associates are starting to fight back.
And one surprise lawsuit could spell doom for Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Mueller indicted former Campaign chairman Paul Manafort on a series of financial crimes for his work from 2006 to 2014 as a consultant to a political party in Ukraine.
But Mueller was tasked with investigation possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
The charges against Manafort have nothing to do with that mandate.
So Manafort fired back with a lawsuit against the special counsel.
“Attorneys for former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court accusing special counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department of overreaching with criminal charges brought last fall that included money laundering and tax evasion.
Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty to the multi-count indictment, urged the court to strike down Mueller’s appointment as illegal. The 17-page complaint argues that the Russia special counsel exceeded authority DOJ gave him in May to investigate any links or coordination between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — and that DOJ granted Mueller too much power in the first place by giving him the green light to go after “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
If the court won’t strike down his appointment, Manafort’s lawsuit suggests several other options, including setting aside Mueller’s indictments, declaring that he doesn’t have the authority to investigate business dealings that aren’t part of his original mandate, stopping him from investigating matters beyond the scope of the original appointment, or “any other relief as may be just and proper.”
“The principle that government must be both limited in power and accountable to the people lies at the core of our constitutional traditions. That principle must be zealously guarded against creeping incursions,” Manafort attorneys Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle wrote in the lawsuit, which was filed in the same venue — the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia — overseeing Mueller’s criminal case against both Manafort and former Trump 2016 campaign aide Rick Gates.”
Prosecutorial overreach is not new to special counsel investigations.
But Mueller’s hardball tactics have been worse than most.
He executed a no-knock search warrant on Manafort’s home and his agents searched his wife while she was still in her pajamas.
This humiliation was designed to intimidate Manafort into flipping on Trump.
But as this lawsuit shows, Manafort has no intention of turning on the President.
Instead, he is going to fight back.
We will keep you up to date on any new developments in this case.