At Manafort Hearing, Judge Weighs Scope of Mueller’s Authority

Paul Manafort, right, who was then the Trump campaign manager, being interviewed at the Republican National Convention in July.

WASHINGTON—A federal judge expressed doubt Thursday over efforts by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to have criminal charges against him dropped, but she appeared more receptive to his request to dismiss one of the counts.

At a sometimes testy hearing over three hours, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson questioned lawyers for Mr. Manafort and special counsel Robert Mueller, who has charged Mr. Manafort in Washington and Virginia with failing to report his work for the government of Ukraine between 2006 and 2015 and with not paying taxes on the millions of dollars he allegedly earned from that work.

Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty and filed motions to dismiss both cases, arguing that they fall outside the bounds of Mr. Mueller’s task of investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Mr. Manafort claims Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s order appointing Mr. Mueller did not give the special counsel authority to investigate the allegations covered in the Manafort indictments.

Judge Jackson, who is overseeing the Washington case, said in court she found it unlikely that Mr. Rosenstein would have appointed Mr. Mueller without explaining what matters he would be examining.

“You’re telling me he didn’t tell him what it was about?” she asked Mr. Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, her voice rising.

Judge Jackson also said Mr. Manafort appeared to be basing his argument on internal Justice Department regulations governing the appointment of a special counsel that are generally meant to help organize agency processes, not to provide a basis for defendants to challenge their cases.

“Why does that matter in a court of law?” she said.

In court papers, Mr. Mueller’s lawyers have said they have authorization to investigate the Manafort charges, citing among other things an August memo from Mr. Rosenstein laying out avenues of inquiry. Mr. Mueller’s office said the probe “would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian-associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs.”

In court on Thursday, Mr. Downing took issue with the timing of the Rosenstein memo, noting that it came months after Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May 2017 and after related search warrants had been executed.

“It seems to me to be very much an after-the-fact memo,” Mr. Downing said.

Judge Berman appeared more receptive, however, to another argument from Mr. Manafort’s legal team, that two of the counts in the indictment against Mr. Manafort essentially charge him with the same crime.

Mr. Manafort was charged with lying about his lobbying work in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. He was also charged with lying about that work in violation of a law that forbids false statements to the federal government.

A prosecution on both counts, Mr. Manafort’s lawyers argued, would seek to punish him twice for the same alleged offense.

In considering that motion, Judge Jackson had pointed questions for Mr. Mueller’s lawyers, asking why the two charges were not duplicative. An attorney with the special counsel’s office said the charges were distinct, and that conduct that violated one law did not always violate the other.

Judge Jackson also considered a third argument from Mr. Manafort’s defense team, seeking to challenge a count of money laundering.

Mr. Manafort is charged with laundering millions of dollars that he allegedly earned through his unregistered Ukraine work. Mr. Manafort’s team argued that the work itself was lawful, so money earned from it isn’t necessarily tainted.

Judge Jackson said that question appeared to be one for a jury to decide, rather than her.

Write to Aruna Viswanatha at

MANAFORT STRIKES BACK: Former Trump Aide SUES DOJ, Mueller, Rosenstein

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is fighting back against the Department of Justice and the special counsel’s office; suing the DOJ, Robert Mueller, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over allegations they overstepped their boundaries while investigating whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

The paperwork claims that the special counsel’s office intentionally targeted Manafort, eventually indicting him on charges that are completely unrelated to allegations the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.

“The investigation of Mr. Manafort is completely unmoored from the Special Counsel’s original jurisdiction to investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,’” the complaintstates.

“It has instead focused on unrelated, decade-old business dealings—specifically, Ukraine political campaign consulting activities of Mr. Manafort.”

“The actions of DOJ and Mr. Rosenstein in issuing the Appointment Order, and Mr. Mueller’s actions pursuant to the authority the Order granted him, were arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law,” adds the court filings.

The former campaign chairman was indicted in late October on a dozen counts related to illegal financial transfers and business dealings, and have yielded zero connections to the President or those closest to him.

h/t The Hill,

SHOCKING Revelation Exposes Tony Podesta Had The Main Role In Manafort’s Indictment!

According to recent reports, the founder of the Podesta Group, Tony Podesta, didn’t register as a foreign agent when he lobbied for the Clinton-Uranium One agreement.

From The Daily Caller:

The Podesta Group lobbied on behalf of Uranium One for part of 2012 and in 2014 and 2015, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Podesta Group was not listed as a lobbyist for Uranium One during its sale to ROSATOM in 2010. The Podesta Group did not file under FARA during any of the years when it lobbied both Congress and the executive branch, according to the Justice Department website.

Reporting requirements under FARA demand far more rigorous public disclosure requirements – including contract information – than reports filed under congressional lobbying disclosure rules.

A spokesperson from the Podesta Group told the Daily Caller:

The Podesta Group takes legal compliance seriously, and it complied with the law here.

Some NBC News sources claim that the Podesta Group is one of the two companies directly linked to Paul Manafort’s indictment in the investigation of Robert Mueller.

From NBC News:

The lobbying firms the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs are the unnamed companies in the grand jury indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, according to three sources with knowledge of the investigation. The indictment, unsealed Monday, refers to ”Company A” and ”Company B” as the firms Manafort and Gates solicited in 2012 to lobby on behalf of the Ukranian government. Company A is Mercury Public Affairs and Company B is the Podesta Group, the sources said.
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Witch Hunt Update: FBI Lists 200+ Manafort Transactions from 2006 to 2014 in Indictment – ONE YEAR Before Trump Launched Campaign

Former Trump Campaign manager of three months Paul Manafort was charged today in the Robert Mueller witch hunt of the Donald Trump campaign.

Rick Gates, his longtime business associate, was also charged according to news reports.

Manafort was Donald Trump’s campaign manager for three months in 2016.

Manafort turned himself in today.


Manafort was charged with TAX FRAUD from transactions made before 2015!


The news of Manafort’s arrest was once again leaked to the liberal media this morning.

Here’s video of Manafort arriving at FBI office to surrender to deep state operatives.

As Josh reported moments ago there were 12 charges filed against Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates.

Here is a copy of the indictment against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates:

Via John Cardillo:

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates Charges Filed in DC Court by Jim Hoft on Scribd

The 200+ transactions listed in the indictment on pages 7 through 14 – with the exception of 4 transactions from 2014.

All of the transactions listed are from the years 2006 to 2013.

This was years before President Donald Trump announced his intentions to run for President.
This is ALL a witch hunt.