Manafort sues Mueller, Justice Department over Russia probe
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman sued special counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department on Wednesday, saying prosecutors had overstepped their bounds by charging him for conduct that he says is unrelated to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The lawsuit by Paul Manafort, filed in federal court in Washington, is the most direct challenge to date to Mueller’s legal authority and the scope of his mandate as special counsel. It comes amid Republican allegations of partisan bias among members of Mueller’s team, which for months has been investigating whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the outcome of the U.S. election.
Manafort was indicted in October on charges, including money-laundering conspiracy, related to his lobbying work on behalf of a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party. He has pleaded not guilty. He is one of four Trump associates — including former national security adviser Michael Flynn — to be charged so far in Mueller’s investigation.
In his complaint, Manafort alleges that the investigation into “decade-old business dealings” is “completely unmoored” from the mandate Mueller was given when he was named in May to probe possible ties between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. He argues that a paragraph in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s order appointing Mueller, which allows him to pursue new matters he comes across during his investigation, is too broad to be permitted under the regulation that governs special counsels.
“The Special Counsel’s investigation and indictment resulted from a violation of numerous DOJ policies and procedures and otherwise far exceeds any lawful authority to investigate links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government,” the lawsuit claims.
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