Trump Seizes On Judge's Pointed Questions To Bash Mueller's Team

Robert Mueller Paul Manafort blank subpoenas

Just a few hours after U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis grilled Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team on how the indictment brought against Paul Manafort in Virginia is relevant to the Russian Federation probe, Trump tried to use Ellis' comments from the hearing to support his claim that the Russian Federation probe is a "witch hunt".

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Manafort and his legal team are specifically looking for the judge in Alexandria, Virginia, to dismiss the latter indictment because it is not related to Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and exceeds the special counsel's authority.

As Law&Crime covered earlier, Judge T.S. Ellis called out Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team and questioned Mueller's intentions and authority on the Manafort indictment for alleged bank and tax fraud. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to both indictments. But Ellis ordered that prosecutors give him the full memo within two weeks, saying he'll determine whether the explanation of why Manafort was under investigation is adequate.

This can be a creating story, please refresh for updates. It's unlikely you're going to persuade me the special prosecutor has power to do anything he or she wants.

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing argued that Mueller overstepped his May 2017 appointment order, which directed him to pursue links between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, as well as "any matter that arose or may arise directly" from the investigation.

"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.

Ellis notes that the evidence gathered on Manafort has nothing to do with the special counsel probe, and that the Department of Justice had most of it before they began investigating the 2016 Trump campaign. "You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment".

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Lawyers for Manafort asked the judge in the Virginia case to dismiss an indictment filed against him in what was their third effort to beat back criminal charges by attacking Mueller's authority.

He also demanded to see the un-redacted memo outlining the scope of the Special Counsel's Russian Federation probe, which congressional Republicans have also sought. Prosecutors say that part of the conspiracy stretched from 2015 through January 2017, including the months while he was working on the Trump campaign.

The judge also directly challenged the scope of Mueller's probe, which has been questioned by not only Manafort's attorneys but Trump and many Republican lawmakers.

While speaking to the NRA at a conference in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Trump read out Ellis's remarks and said that he felt sympathy for Manafort, and agreed with Ellis about Mueller's motivation. He repeated his suspicion several times in the hour-long court hearing. Judge Amy Berman Jackson had dismissed a civil suit over the issue of Mueller's jurisdiction, but pointedly not on the merits of the complaint. Ellis said. "Tell me how".

"This indictment didn't arise from your investigation", Ellis said.

Legal experts questioned the judge's comments.

"We don't want anyone in this country with unfettered power", he said.

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