I don’t remember the Order of appointment authorizing Mueller to: Go get the President, by any means possible, and don’t worry about collateral damage.
We reported on Friday about the hearing in federal court in Virginia regarding Paul Manafort’s request to have his criminal indictment and case dismissed because it was beyond the jurisdiction of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to prosecute.
Statements made by the judge during the hearing generated a lot of news, Manafort Judge: Mueller only really cares about the “prosecution or impeachment” of Trump. See that post for the details on the news reports of the hearing, plus my explanation of why Mueller is exceeding his authority.
Click on the tweet below for a thread on the analysis and excerpts from the transcript.
I got my hands on the May 4 transcript from the USA v. Manafort hearing in front of Judge Ellis. (Thanks to a close friend.)
Here we go… pic.twitter.com/MsEmKIlUhn
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Here are some of the interesting takes in that Twitter thread.
Manafort’s lawyer made the point I’ve been making, Rosenstein’s August 2, 2017 memo cannot retroactively expand Mueller’s authority:
Here are some of the money quotes from the Judge:
This portion from page 10 addresses Mueller’s expansive argument as to what constitutes, under the May 17, 2017 Order of appointment, crimes arising from the investigation. I’ve argued that such provision only relates to crimes in the course of the investigation (e.g. obstruction), not all crimes discovered during the investigation:
MR. DREEBEN: The first is that in provision (c) which is in the order, the special counsel is authorized to prosecute matters that arose from the investigation that is described earlier in the preamble and in (b)(i) and (b)(ii). So we are not limited in our prosecution authority to crimes that would fit within the precise description that was issued in this public order. If the investigation is valid, the crimes that arose from that investigation are within the special counsel’s authority to prosecute.
THE COURT: Even though it didn’t arise from your investigation. It arose from a preexisting investigation.
MR. DREEBEN: Well, the investigation was inherited by the special counsel.
THE COURT: That’s right, but your argument says, Even though the investigation was really done by the Justice Department, handed to you, and then you’re now using it, as I indicated before, as a means of persuading Mr. Manafort to provide information.
It’s vernacular by the way. I’ve been here a long time. The vernacular is to sing. That’s what prosecutors use, but what you’ve got to be careful of is they may not just sing. They may also compose. I can see a few veteran defense counsel here, and they have spent a good deal of time in this courtroom trying to persuade a jury that there wasn’t singing, there was composing going on. But in any event, finish up this point, and then I’ll come back to the defendant.
Scott Johnson at Power Line sees something else:
As I said yesterday in “Mueller’s got a secret,” I have no idea where this is going, but I’m enjoying the ride. In that post the “secret” to which I referred was the redacted portion of the August 2 scope memo. I see in the full transcript of the hearing there is another secret: the specific factual statement that sets forth the matter to be investigated by Mueller (Dreeben speaking at page 29: “the specific factual statement, as Attorney General Rosenstein described in his Congressional testimony, was conveyed to the special counsel upon his appointment in ongoing discussions that defined the parameters of the investigation that he wanted the special counsel to conduct”)….
My bet on how this ends up? The Judge rips Mueller’s team a new one, then lets them proceed forward anyway. I hope I’m wrong on that latter conclusion, because Mueller is on a fishing expedition, trolling the lake to find crimes by anyone associated with Trump who could be forced, in the judges words, to sing.
Funny, I don’t remember the Order of appointment authorizing Mueller to: Go get the President, by any means possible, and don’t worry about collateral damage.
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