Manafort sues, calling Mueller actions rogue

Erika Holt
January 12, 2018

And on Wednesday, Trump almost blew the weird coiffure off the top of his surgically-repaired hairline when former trusted confidante Steve Bannon made several explosive claims in a new book about the campaign and operations within the White House.

"All this lawsuit would do is affirm that Rod Rosenstein has given [Mueller] this broad authority", he said.

The lawsuit alleges that Mueller's Russian Federation investigation has exceeded its scope.

The case comes amid increasing attempts by many Republicans and conservative media to attack Mueller as biased and unfair. His request to nullify Mueller's actions related to Manafort was unusual because it came as a civil lawsuit rather than a motion to dismiss the criminal case.

The suit also says Mueller should be enjoined from investigating any conduct by Manafort "that is unrelated to and predates his involvement with the Trump campaign".

The lawsuit claims Mueller and Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, violated the Administrative Procedures Act. However the court deals with this as an immediate matter, Manafort most certainly has a valid constitutional claim concerning the "wolf that comes as a wolf".

At the time of the May 2017 appointment of Mueller, Rosenstein said, "It is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter". He could still face charges if new prosecutors chose to bring them.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., names the DOJ, Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller.

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Moreover, the integrity of Mueller's investigation is severely compromised since his team is stacked with Democratic donors and former Obama lawyers. The complaint accuses Rosenstein of exceeding that authority that the regulations say he has, Wisenberg said. Manafort and his delegate Rick Gates deny the affirmations in the charges.

"It's a circular argument", he said. They've pleaded not guilty. But some charges against Manafort, like money laundering, have nothing to do with that and happened as far back as 2006 - way before Manafort ever worked for the Trump campaign. His roster of clients, some with unsavory reputations, included deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Manafort is challenging Mr. Mueller at the same time that some Republicans are accusing the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director of putting together a biased prosecution team dotted with lawyers who contributed campaign money to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.

Manafort "voluntarily met with DOJ prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to discuss his offshore political consulting activities" in July 2014, the complaint says. The political consultant is alleged to have laundered the money through a complex web of offshore companies.

Some of those subpoenas look for records from as ahead of schedule as 2005. The Manafort lawyers say that goes beyond what the law allows Rosenstein to empower Mueller to do.

"I think Manafort is throwing a Hail Mary with this lawsuit", Andy Wright, a former White House lawyer who is now at Savannah Law School, told me in an interview.

They also include political reality that a president being investigated by a special counsel fires him at his peril.

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