Paul Manafort is suing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Department of Justice. He is arguing that the charges against him have nothing to do with the original purpose of the special counsel investigation and of course, he’s right, but this is Washington. It’s unlikely to matter.
Manafort’s main argument is that whatever he did, Mueller would not have found out if he stayed focused on Russian collusion. And that’s probably true, but this is Washington.
The Daily Caller reports,
Manafort, a longtime Republican political operative and lobbyist, filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C. alleging that Mueller has exceeded his authority in the Russia investigation by focusing on activities that occurred well before Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign.
The lawsuit notes that Mueller’s initial mandate was to investigate “links and/or coordination between theRussian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
But Mueller’s probe, which began in May, has instead focused on Manafort’s offshore business dealings and his political consulting in Ukraine — activities which Manafort’s filing asserts “have been known to the United States government for many years.”
The lawsuit, filed by Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing, states that Manafort met with Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents on July 30, 2014 to discuss many of the issues that Mueller is now investigating.
“None of the charges relate to Mr. Manafort’s activities during his brief stint in 2016 as the campaign manager for the Trump presidential campaign,” reads the lawsuit.
Manafort and a longtime business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted on Oct. 27 for money laundering and other financial crimes in connection for work they did for a Ukrainian political party allied with the Russian government.
Manafort, who left the Trump campaign in Aug. 2016, has denied colluding with the Kremlin to influence the presidential campaign.