In a highly unusual move, Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former Campaign Chairman, is suing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He filed his suit on Wednesday, naming Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and the Department of Justice as defendants.
Manafort alleges that the Special Counsel has been granted too broad authority in his investigation. He is requesting a federal judge to limit that power and narrow the scope of the Special Counsel investigation.
Manafort was indicted as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was arraigned on money laundering charges that trace back years and are connected to his foreign lobbying efforts.
In his suit, Manafort alleges that things have gone too far. He says that Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate “anything he stumbles across while investigating, no matter how remote.” Attorneys for Manafort argue that the charges predate any Russian interference and are therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Special Counsel investigation.
The relief Manafort seeks in this lawsuit is extensive. He has requested that Mueller’s appointment be rejected because the scope of his investigation is too broad. He has also requested that the indictment brought against him be dismissed and that the judge specifically disallows Mueller from looking into anything beyond Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Manafort’s argument is reminiscent of the President’s comments about Mueller having no authority to look into his family or personal finances. The lawsuit comes as there is a war being waged on the right.
The President and his supporters have been fiercely criticizing the FBI and the Mueller investigation, attempting to discredit the investigators. That technique makes sense if a person is worried about what an investigation might uncover.
This is the first official step taken to limit the Special Counsel investigation explicitly. There have been significant efforts made in the public sphere by those friendly to the President, but this lawsuit marks an attempt to tie Mueller’s hands legally.
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