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Corrected: US judge questions special counsel's powers in Manafort case

Corrected: US judge questions special counsel's powers in Manafort case

"A federal judge questioned special counsel Robert Mueller's authority to bring tax and bank fraud charges unrelated - unrelated, nobody knows that - unrelated to the 2016 election against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort". Manafort has pleaded not guilty to both indictments. "You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment".

Mueller's team countered that any investigation of alleged collusion between the campaign and Russia "would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian-associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs".

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. Both indictments center largely around Manafort's lobbying work for the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian interests.

Manafort appeared in court early Friday to seek the dismissal of the charges outlined in the Virginia indictment. "The question now is whether or not the judge agrees Mueller was authorized to charge him".

Ellis is giving Mueller's lawyers two weeks to provide an unredacted version of an August 2, 2017 memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein laying out the parameters of the investigation into Manafort, the judge said Friday. He suggested the real reason Mueller is pursuing Manafort is to pressure him to provide evidence against Trump.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis admonished special counsel Robert Mueller's lawyers Friday for potentially exceeding the bounds of their mandate to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller's team says its authorities are laid out in documents including the August 2017 scope memo - and that some powers are actually secret because they involve ongoing investigations and national security matters that can not be publicly disclosed.

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Dreeben said the investigations were "folded together with our overall examination of Mr. Manafort's conduct", and he was indicted based on information developed by Mueller as they followed the trail of money that left Ukraine. Ellis said. "Tell me how".

"This indictment didn't arise from your investigation", Ellis said. He worked for me for a very short period of time. "It's unlikely you're going to persuade me the special counsel has unlimited powers to do anything her or she wants".

"Your argument is that this is the scope of the investigation but we really didn't mean it and we weren't required to disclose it", Ellis said.

He has also added an attorney from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia to his legal team for the case: Uzo Asonye, who prosecuted Norfolk treasurer Anthony Burfoot.

The judge's questions suggested he was impatient with Breeden and the three prosecutors sitting at the table.

President Donald Trump has a new hero.

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