President Trump’s former campaign chairman was indicted on money laundering and other charges but has taken legal actions of his own by filing a lawsuit against Robert Mueller and the Department of Justice. Paul Manafort is under the impression that Mueller’s attempt to uncover hidden information connecting Trump and Russia violated the law and he demands that the indictment be removed. Although the charges Mueller filed against Manafort “have nothing to do with the 2016 campaign, “they did have something to do with “lucrative lobbying work Manafort and his deputy did for a former Russia-friendly government in Ukraine,” according to CNN.
Manafort’s representing attorney has spoken out claiming that “Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is pursing crimes that never happened.” The DOJ responded back, however, with a comment of their own stating that “the lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants.” It seems the DOJ isn’t too concerned with the lawsuit as the allegations being made against it and Mueller might not possess any true evidence.
However, the lawsuit touches on one point in particular involving the decision Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made in allowing Mueller to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” The lawyers representing Manafort are claiming that “goes beyond what the law allows Rosenstein to empower Mueller to do.” Another one of the complaints Manafort has voiced in his lawsuit is that after Mueller did some “digging,” he was charged with conduct he had disclosed details about at the time he engaged in those activities.
Manafort’s lawsuit highlights a July FBI raid on his home when the special counsel led by Mueller was “seeking records of possible financial crimes dating to January 2006” which is nearly a decade before the presidential campaign began that correlates with Mueller’s investigation. While Manafort’s lawsuit is an attempt to help discredit the on-going investigation, the president himself has made his own attempts to do so as well. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Trump tries to portray the investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt that has cast a dark cloud over his administration and, in his view, the country.”
Was Manafort’s Lawsuit a Tactic to Find Out What Has Been Uncovered in the Investigation?
With the investigation lagging on and no real details being disclosed, Manafort’s lawsuit might “force prosecutors to reveal details about the scope of the investigation.” If this is Manafort’s angle, while he might have luck in “undermining the credibility of Mueller and his prosecutors,” he might have a difficult time using it as a legal strategy to find out exactly what has been discovered in the on-going investigation that seeks to identify ties with the presidential campaign and the Russian government.
While Manafort has done his due diligence in obtaining legal aid to represent this particular matter, hopefully, he is going to be represented by a criminal defense attorney when his case is taken before a judge. He is currently scheduled to appear before a judge on January 16, only a few days away.