Judge Appears Skeptical Of Manafort's Civil Lawsuit Against DOJ, Mueller

Dutch lawyer will be first sentenced in Russia probe

It alleges portions of Rosenstein's order laying out Mueller's investigative mandate violate Justice Department rules. That memo comes more into play in Manafort's effort in his criminal case to cut into Mueller's work. Panera Bread website leaked customer data The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE in his lawsuit seeking to limit the scope of Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's special counsel investigation, Reuters reports.

Mr Mueller is investigating potential collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, as well as whether the President has unlawfully tried to obstruct the probe.

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

The criminal indictments against Manafort DC and Virginia state that Manafort's political consulting firm, Davis Manafort Partners Inc., had staff in Russia, Ukraine, and the United States.

Manafort, who performed lobbying work for a pro-Russian former Ukrainian president before serving as Trump's campaign chairman in the 2016 US election, is facing two indictments brought by Mueller in federal courts in Washington and Alexandria, Virginia. "Each step the Special Counsel has taken against Mr. Manafort has been without lawful authority", Manafort's lawyers wrote in mid-March. At Wednesday's hearing, Downing also said that he was no longer pursuing the second count - focused on Mueller himself - and that the lawsuit was just challenging the appointment order.

Jackson asked why the Russia-specific part of Mueller's appointment order wouldn't apply to Manafort anyway, since it referred to "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump".

In the criminal case in DC, the special counsel's office earlier this week filed a redacted copy of an August memo from Rosenstein saying Mueller's office could investigate not only Manafort's involvement in the campaign, but also whether he committed crimes in connection with his work for Ukraine.

Manafort is charged with conspiracy, money-laundering conspiracy, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and making false statements all in relation to payments he received for work done for Yanukovych.

Previously, Manafort's attorneys complained that Mueller exceeded his authority by opening cases against Manafort, because they involved business conducted years before he joined the Trump campaign in 2016.

Berman Jackson didn't decide on the lawsuit on Wednesday, and will issue an opinion later.

Prosecutors say in their court filing that given their mandate to investigate links between Trump associates and Russian Federation, it was logical and appropriate to investigate Manafort for ties to Russia-backed politicians and oligarchs.

A Justice Department lawyer asked Berman Jackson to throw out Manafort's civil lawsuit and instead visit some of the issues Manafort has raised during his criminal case.

The Justice Department is handling the defense against Manafort's civil suit, but at least a half dozen lawyers from the special counsel's office attended Wednesday's hearing, including Manafort prosecutors Andrew Weissmann, Greg Andres, and Brian Richardson.

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