Executive Intelligence Review

FROM EIR DAILY ALERT


Angry Judge: ‘C’mon!’ Mueller Team Going after Manafort To Lead to Trump Impeachment

May 4, 2018 (EIRNS)—U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, at a hearing today in Virginia in the case of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman of Donald Trump, dressed down Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, for assuming “unfettered power,” and seeking to get information on Manafort just to oust President Trump from office.

The judge said,

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort. You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump, and an impeachment, or whatever,”

as transcribed by Fox News. “That’s what you’re really interested in.”

The occasion for this confrontation was a hearing on Manafort’s motion to dismiss an 18-count indictment on bank and tax fraud-related charges. Manafort’s counsel argued that Mueller does not have the power to level the indictments, since they have nothing to do with “Russian collusion” which is the mandate of the special counsel. Manafort wants them thrown out.

While expected to adjudicate the relevant matters, Judge Ellis has not had in his possession the texts of the official documents defining the scope of Mueller’s efforts. Moreover, some of the information used for indicting Manafort came from a Department of Justice probe going back to 2005, which long pre-dates the formation of the 2017 Mueller investigation. Judge Ellis questioned both of these circumstances, confronting prosecutor Michael Dreeben, of the Mueller team. The judge said,

“We don’t want anyone in this country with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special prosecutor has power to do anything he or she wants. The American people feel pretty strongly that no one has unfettered power,”

as transcribed by CNN.

In various ways, the Mueller team tried to give the judge the run-around. Dreeben gave Ellis an argument about how the investigation of Manafort and the charges against him can date back to before the Trump campaign formed. Ellis sternly replied, “None of that information has to do with information related to Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump.”

Overall, the Mueller team asserted that, in the May 2, 2017 letter appointing Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller was given broad authority. And secondly, in the August 2017 scope memo, there are some sections which must be secret, because of ongoing investigations and national security interests.

Ellis ridiculed that response of the Mueller Special Counsel’s office by paraphrasing, “We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it, and we were lying.” The judge added, “C’mon man!”

Judge Ellis ordered the Mueller team to provide him the unredacted text of the scope memo within two weeks. When the attorneys demurred, claiming that the memo had content unrelated to Manafort, Ellis said, “I’ll be the judge of that.”

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