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Manafort Judge: Mueller only really cares about the “prosecution or impeachment” of Trump

Manafort Judge: Mueller only really cares about the “prosecution or impeachment” of Trump

Mueller is out to get Trump. It’s that simple. It’s not an investigation, it’s a hunt, and Trump is the hunted.

Almost since the day Robert Mueller was appointed, I have been pointing out that Mueller has gone rogue and is employing a scorched earth strategy to get Trump, on anything.

The Paul Manafort prosecution on things having nothing to do with the reason Mueller was appointed, alleged Russia collusion, is a good example, as was the prosecution of Michael Flynn. There will be bodies left on Mueller’s battlefield from those unfortunate enough to have associated with Trump or the campaign.

Last night I reiterated that point in my post, Manafort lawyers: Mueller “has not produced any materials” showing Manafort contacts with Russians:

But that gets back to one of the original sins of the prosecution of Manafort — It was beyond the scope of Mueller’s authority when the investigation started and the raid on Manafort’s home took place. That Order of appointment has never been changed.

Mueller and Rod Rosenstein attempted to bootstrap authority in an August 4, 2017 memo, we previously discussed in Rosenstein Memo confirming Mueller could investigate Manafort came a week after raid on Manafort’s home:…

Rosenstein purporting to interpret the original Order of appointment is not in fact a change in the Order. Mueller’s authority is as it was when he was appointed, and that plainly does not include matters completely unrelated to alleged Russian collusion or crimes committed in the course of the investigation. Neither of those situations applies to the prosecution of Manafort.

The problem with this post hoc authority is that it also calls into question the integrity of the Mueller operation:

The August 2, 2017 memo was classic boostrapping. It purported to confirm Mueller’s authority to go after Manafort’s business dealings, but Mueller already was doing that and had been doing it for weeks, culminating in the July 26 home raid.

So to the extent the Rosenstein August 2, 2017 memorandum is supposed to instill confidence that Mueller is receiving proper DOJ oversight, it does just the opposite. As least as to the portion revealed about Manafort, it shows a willingness to give post hoc justification for conduct of Mueller that does not appear authorized by the text of the original May 17 appointing Order.

Mueller has no business prosecuting someone for matters completely unrelated to alleged Russian collusion. After-the-fact expansion of authority by Rod Rosenstein, which did not change the appointing Order, cannot change that.

Mueller is torturing Manafort through these indictments without appropriate authority. That might be because Mueller thinks he can flip Manafort against Trump, or because Manafort’s refusal to cop a plea has so infuriated the Mueller team that they are going to make an example of Manafort.

In either case, Mueller needs to be limited to his actual authority. Hopefully the courts will do that, because it’s clear that Rod Rosenstein will not.

This morning in court on Manafort’s motion challenging Mueller’s authority to prosecute the bank fraud case, the Judge lashed out at Mueller and made some comments that echo the points I’ve been making all along.

We don’t have a transcript, but we do have multiple news reports. From The Washington Post (emphasis added):

A federal judge in Virginia on Friday grilled lawyers from the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about the motivations for bringing a bank and tax fraud case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Judge T.S. Ellis III said during a morning hearing. “You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Manafort was seeking to have the bank and tax fraud charges against him dismissed in federal court in Alexandria, with his lawyers arguing that the alleged crimes have nothing to do with the election or with President Trump.

Ellis agreed, but he made no immediate decision on the defense motion. He said even without such a connection the special counsel, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, may well still have the authority to bring the charges.

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington in November.

I’m not saying it’s illegitimate,” Ellis said.

CNN reports:

Ellis repeated his suspicion several times in the hour-long court hearing. He said he’ll make a decision at a later date about whether Manafort’s case can go forward.

“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,” Ellis told Dreeben. “The American people feel pretty strongly that no one has unfettered power.”

When Dreeben answered Ellis’ question about how the investigation and its charges date back to before the Trump campaign formed, the judge shot back, “None of that information has to do with information related to Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump.”

At one point, Ellis posed a hypothetical question, speaking as if he were the prosecutor, about why Mueller’s office referred a criminal investigation about Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to New York authorities and kept the Manafort case in Virginia.

They weren’t interested in it because it didn’t “further our core effort to get Trump,” Ellis said, mimicking a prosecutor in the case.

It doesn’t sound from the reports that the Judge is likely to quash the prosecution, but at least some truth was spoken.

Mueller is out to get Trump. It’s that simple. It’s not an investigation, it’s a hunt, and Trump is the hunted.

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Comments

I believe the above headline is what is known as an “understatement”!!

Rosenstein is also part of it, as he has given Mueller back dated authority, which shows his active part in this. Rosenstein needs to go, and then be prosecuted. I fear impeachment for his slimy butt will take too long.

It’s also harder and harder to believe Sessions isn’t a part of this cabal as well. It seems the only time he comes awake with this is to threaten resignation if Rosenstein is fired. I have big problems with this.

The trouble with Manafort’s case is they probably have evidence of a crime, which makes it tough to throw the case out, yet this judge seems to get it that Mueller is acting more like the Gestapo who know they can find the crime to fit their target.

Mueller smelled from the beginning, and his actions and deeds have only made more stench regarding this whole fabricated investigation. Comey should be under investigation. Mueller doesn’t seem to be looking at the DNC and Hillary, even though Russian “Collusion” was evident there, yet Herr Mueller’s focus is only in one direction. His team is another indication where this has been going from the get go.

If they get away with this our country is no longer a Democratic Republic, and those who truly rule will remain in the shadows behind their checkbook.

    regulus arcturus in reply to oldgoat36. | May 4, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Looks that way, and the most important outcome of Judge Ellis’ demands was the requirement for Rosenstein to produce the unredacted version of the scope memo of Mueller’s investigation.

    Rosenstein is currently defying a congressional subpoena for that unredacted doc.

Coloradoopenrange | May 4, 2018 at 1:06 pm

I will say, in all seriousness, the Judge had better hope Sessions and Company get off their duffs. Mueller should be jailed. He has a trail of vindictive illegal behavior. He punishes the people who oppose him. He is out to destroy people and make sure we will never have another Trump-like figure who is willing to take on the deep state.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Can the judge do something other than “quash the investigation” if he believes Mueller has overstepped? I don’t know what the remedy might be, but it seems unjust to acknowledge prosecutorial overreach yet allow it to continue.

    Humphrey's Executor in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | May 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Just guessing here but perhaps the Judge could order the case be referred to the applicable US Attorney’s office.

      Close The Fed in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | May 4, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      As a non-criminal attorney, my understanding is the judge could dismiss the case on the grounds that Mueller is exercising jurisdiction beyond what he is permitted under the grant, and that going further than such grant is a violation of the constitution. He could dismiss it without leave to refile.

        Ragspierre in reply to Close The Fed. | May 4, 2018 at 2:32 pm

        Nope. If the judge ruled that there is a lack of jurisdiction, he’s done. Fini.

        He has NO authority to go beyond that ruling. A lack of jurisdiction means just that.

          Close The Fed in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 2:35 pm

          Re Rags:
          I wasn’t discussing the court’s jurisdiction, BUT MUELLER’S.

          If Mueller doesn’t have jurisdiction beyond X grant of power, the judge can dismiss the criminal case, without leave to refile the criminal case against Manafort.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm

          On what legal premise?

          SDN in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 8:36 pm

          On the legal premise of “gander, meet sauce.” If a judge can re-instate a program based on an illegal executive order, what’s left of the rule of law?

        puhiawa in reply to Close The Fed. | May 4, 2018 at 9:28 pm

        You are correct. If the Judge concurs that the charges were brought beyond the initial charge, then the court must properly dismiss the case upon motion. There are two avenues to determine that: 1. that an expansion of Mueller’s authority after the warrant was issued for probable cause of a non-covered crime under the initial letter by Rosenstein, or 2. that the enabling statute requires a defined crime to investigate and as yet none has been described (collusion whether it be with Russia or anyone else is not a defined crime).
        Note. This does not obviate the Motion to Dismiss based on a defective warrant.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Can the judge do something other than “quash the investigation” if he believes Mueller has overstepped? I don’t know what the remedy might be, but it seems unjust to acknowledge prosecutorial overreach yet allow it to continue.

    He can 1. throw out all charges, 2. sanction the proprietorial team including Manafort and 3. recommend disbarment, which is what the judge did in Bill Clinton’s case.

JusticeDelivered | May 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Deplorable swamp people have pulled out all the stops.

Guiliani for Attorney-General. Fire Herr Meuller, Rosenstein and Sessions. Worthless Swamp Creatures.

    Close The Fed in reply to dystopia. | May 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I’m no criminal attorney, but Guiliana’s loose lips have been appalling.

    He seems to treat television interviews like a supper club meeting.

    No to him as A.G. NONONONONO.

      gonzotx in reply to Close The Fed. | May 4, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      I have it from a very well respected attorney that Rudy put that out there on purpose because Mueller already knows this and he put it out there to lessen its blow when and if it comes out.
      And really, who gives a $h£t.

        Close The Fed in reply to gonzotx. | May 4, 2018 at 5:36 pm

        Re: Gonzo Tx

        Perhaps, but Guiliana has already issued a “clarification.”

        also, don’t forget that it was Guiliana who mentioned that pre-election Trump wanted a “muslim” ban.

        Loose lips sink ships – even the very sea-worthy.

    regulus arcturus in reply to dystopia. | May 4, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Could never get him thru Senate approval.

Also proves that the investigators have lied telling Trump that he is not a target, but EVERYONE knows that he is the ONLY target!

Can we get rid of the troll?

    tarheelkate in reply to Exiliado. | May 4, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Why bother? All he’s got is “Trump isn’t perfect either!” The question he should answer is whether being perfect is required to avoid vindictive prosecution by a man with the authority to issue subpoenas, convene grand juries, and conduct no-knock raids.

Close The Fed | May 4, 2018 at 2:15 pm

If the accusations against Manafort have nothing to do with “Collusion with Russia,” the judge should dismiss the charges, without leave to refile.

This free-ranging prosecutor is distracting the nation from important business, and chilling anyone’s interest in being associated with a major political party. Unacceptable. The judge needs to quit talking, and issue a ruling that we all know is needed for the sake of our country.

    Ragspierre in reply to Close The Fed. | May 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    ***If the accusations against Manafort have nothing to do with “Collusion with Russia,” the judge should dismiss the charges, without leave to refile.***

    On what possible legal basis?

I’m not sure how this matters. It wouldn’t be the first time a prosecutor did the ‘cooperate or else’ thing. They apparently knew about Manafort back in 2014 but didn’t consider him a big enough fish to try to haul in. That said, how often are the little fish used to go after the bigger fish? If that is what is going on here then it doesn’t seem like anything new under the sun.

Close The Fed | May 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Further, if the judge lacks the courage to rule as he should
then we know the judge was a poor selection for the office.

To be faced with these 3rd world strong-arm tactics and let them continue, means to abdicate his judicial responsibility to end prosecutorial overreach and abuse of office.

Ragspierre | May 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm

I’m having a LEEETLE trouble discerning how this bloviation from the judge is NOT just a political speech, and how it has anything to do with the law.

Do the “turn-around” test in your own mind, and ask yourself how you’d view this extraneous crap if were from a judge you DIDN’T like. Me, personally, I think it out of place from the bench.

IF he thinks the casesssss against Monofart are meretricious, just make a ruling. Apparently he does NOT think that.

IF he thinks there’s wrong-doing from the prosecutors, just make a referral. Apparently, he’s not at all sure.

    tarheelkate in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Is it common for a judge to listen to arguments and make a ruling later? If so, we’ll have to wait for the ruling.

      Ragspierre in reply to tarheelkate. | May 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Sure. Swell. A good judge doesn’t make political comments from the bench in open court, however.

        starride in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 3:36 pm

        Well Rags, your comment applies to about 80% of the present sitting and past judiciary

        tarheelkate in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        The argument, as I understand it, was that the Special Counsel’s authority did not extend to the case at hand, since it has nothing whatever to do with “Russian interference in the election.” If it seemed clear (and it does to me) that Mueller is merely out after bigger game, the comment may not be as “political” as it seems to you.

        Personal opinions about Mr. Trump and Mr. Manafort ought not, ideally, to affect how they are treated at law. Or so I have always believed.

        SDN in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm

        Look up “shocks the conscience of the court” and return your law degree to the crackerjack box.

    Close The Fed in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Re: Rags

    Sometimes judges aren’t “sure” because they’re afraid.

    I remember all the judges that didn’t make the tough call that Obama had to prove he was an American natural born citizen to get placed on ballots….

      Ragspierre in reply to Close The Fed. | May 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Really? Are you going all Birther right here, on our stage?

      (Ed Sullivan reference above.)

        Close The Fed in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 5:42 pm

        Re: Rags

        As an American citizen, I’m entitled to the enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States. It requires that the president be a “natural born citizen.”

        Mr. Obama was not. I’m aware there were lengthy threads here that argued on this topic. I found the arguments that he was unpersuasive.

        Merely applying a slur to someone that knows her right to constitutionally-qualified official, doesn’t make her evil or wrong. I am an attorney; I have done appellate work; I can evaluate the arguments myself.

        I also note that Mr. Obama had all his records sealed (and President Trump has not had them unsealed as far as I’m aware), which, as Mr. Obama noted about someone else, “If they don’t want you to see something, they have something to hide.” (paraphrasing)

          Ragspierre in reply to Close The Fed. | May 4, 2018 at 7:07 pm

          Oh, dear. You ARE a Birther! Well, that frames your thinking nicely.

          Not to say you’re JUST a nutter. But you are a nutter.

          I don’t know if Obama was or wasn’t born in the a State of HI. But I do believe that the much ballyhooed release of the original long form birth certificate was a provable photoshopped forgery. There is something on the real certificate that is potentially embarrassing to the president.

          Does that make me a birther?

          Milhouse in reply to Close The Fed. | May 6, 2018 at 6:43 am

          But I do believe that the much ballyhooed release of the original long form birth certificate was a provable photoshopped forgery.

          If you believe that then yes, you are a nutter, and ought to be banned from any decent blog just on that basis alone.

          Milhouse in reply to Close The Fed. | May 6, 2018 at 6:44 am

          I also note that Mr. Obama had all his records sealed (and President Trump has not had them unsealed as far as I’m aware),

          Which records do you claim he sealed, and on what basis do you make that claim?

        JoAnne in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2018 at 12:16 am

        Birther? If you don’t wonder why a man running for the biggest job in the world seals all his records and then calls you names for asking why, you might be a little daft. Personally, I think his daddy is Frank Marshall Davis! Ever see their pictures side by side?!!

          Milhouse in reply to JoAnne. | May 6, 2018 at 6:42 am

          WTH are you talking about? What records do you imagine he sealed, and on what basis?

    regulus arcturus in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    How exactly is the judge demanding unredacted scope docs central to Herr Müller’s authority “political bloviating?”

    neanderthal in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    We don’t have a transcript, just news reports, which are quite naturally going to select the most dramatic quotes and play them up.

    I think we would need the context before assuming it was nothing more than a political speech.

    Barry in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    “I’m having a LEEETLE trouble…”

    Of course you are. All nevertrump cultists are having the same trouble.

Coloradoopenrange | May 4, 2018 at 2:39 pm

In 2006, the Robert Mueller-led FBI took horrendously unjust actions to derail Curt
Weldon’s re-election bid just weeks before the vote—actions that were later described
as a “hit job” in this WND article:http://www.wnd.com/2016/11/the-clinton-directed-fbi-hit-job/

Why haven’t we heard from the FISA court on this inquisition? Doesn’t the court have the right to defend itself against abusive usage?

    Uh, no, it doesn’t. Its proceedings are secret. Giving the court that right would be insane.

      Sorry, misread a word. I don’t see how FISC has any right to publicly defend its honor in the marketplace of ideas. As for the right to defend itself against improper use.. …that threw me off, because this is like the proverbial lead-a-camel-to-water rhetorical question. If FISC declines to exercise that right, we have no say.

      The official line is that FISC noted certain abuses last year, DNI, NSA etc. said they were cleaning things up, no one has complained since, and everything is just fine. It’s simply not possible for us to know whether that is truly the case. But in either scenario, Congress did not invent FISC to have a public head-butting contest with the DoJ.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to MSO. | May 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    There’s the possibility they steered their case to a FISA judge known to be sympathetic to their goal of getting rid of Trump, i.e., the judge was in on it.

The important part is the Judge demanded the original unredacted memo giving Mueller authority. Rosenstein wouldn’t let Congress see the unredacted memo even though he is under subpoena. Will Mueller show it to the judge?

It doesn’t sound from the reports that the Judge is likely to quash the prosecution, but at least some truth was spoken.

The judge is just doing a bit of freelance virtue-signaling. If he doesn’t quash this ridiculous and blatantly anti-American prosecution, he’s just another useless time-server who likes to hear himself talk.

    willow in reply to tom_swift. | May 4, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    If he asked for the unredacted memo, he has to be at least considering quashing it. I didn’t see anything political at all. The judge’s comments related to directly what was going on in the courtroom. His decision has to take into account the political background. Judges signal all the time their immediate thinking from the bench. The Supremes do it all the time.

    Ragspierre in reply to tom_swift. | May 4, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    On what do you predicate your bullshit about this case, Tom.

    Have you seen what they have on Monofart? I’m betting not. So, what you are saying is based on your rank bias.

regulus arcturus | May 4, 2018 at 6:48 pm

Judge is on to the fact that Mueller is using a preexisting FISA Title 1 warrant (counterintel investigation) instead of Title 3 warrant (criminal investigation)

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/05/04/federal-judge-catches-robert-mueller-using-preexisting-fisa-title-1-warrant-against-paul-manafort-instead-of-title-3-authority/

Mueller’s big problem is that he was initially charged with continuing the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. We know this fact. What we do not know is exactly how Mueller’s investigation was expanded beyond the collusion investigation.

The problem with continuing the FBI investigation is that there appears a very real possibility that it was tainted and that the FISA warrant, which is presumably the source of most of the investigative information, was obtained under fraudulent circumstances and/or that the FISA warrant is not appropriate for the investigation into criminal matters. If this is proven, then the whole investigation goes down the drain. It is impossible to put the genie back in the bottle, as far as improperly obtained information and evidence is concerned.

The judge’s statements could have an enormous impact on the Flynn case. That case is predicated upon Flynn knowingly making a false statement to FBI agents. Flynn pled guilty to that charge even though the FBI interviewers stated that they did not think that Flynn had knowingly lied to them. So, for sentencing, the judge in that case will likely want to make very certain that the charge would likely have led to a conviction at trial and that Flynn was not otherwise coerced into pleading guilty to as crime which he did not commit.

The ramifications of this could be catastrophic to Mueller’s investigation. This mess could go in any number of directions. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    regulus arcturus in reply to Mac45. | May 4, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Yep.

    Rosenstein seems to be the linchpin here, appointing Herr Müller, giving him free reign, handing off the counterintel investigation to him, giving him cover where necessary, and using every redaction and concealment technique in the book to ensure the “insurance policy” succeeds.

    Time for Rosenstein to be exposed, get fired and prosecuted for seditious conspiracy

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2384

There seem to be some huge secrets/crimes which would have never come to light under a hillary clinton presidency. U1 for example. The SC himself has fingerprints on many of these past issues. SC literally has everything to lose, which means he has nothing to lose. Thus the “scorched earth” investigation. In mounting such a blistering prosecutorial onslaught, it opens any defense to the charge of “political motivation” or “obstruction.” Just like rosenstien has everything/nothing to lose at this point. rosenstien won’t release the unredacted memo. Better to take the impeachment and scream “political persecution” then willingly hand over evidence of criminal wrong doing.

We could use a news organization to put up a story that mueller was having sex with a horse.
They can retract it a couple weeks later on page 80 in small print.

Mueller is not having a good day.

prosecutors also said US-based defense attorneys for Concord Management and Consulting, from the law firm Reed Smith in Washington, DC, have sought details about evidence Mueller’s office collected in the case.

The Russian company’s attorneys asked for information about other employees who Mueller considered to be co-conspirators or who weren’t charged in the case, the US people who communicated with the Russians, and recordings and other electronic surveillance of the company’s employees.

The company’s attorneys also asked for information about the past seven decades of US policy toward other countries’ elections, especially regarding ” ‘each and every instance’ from ‘1945 to present’ where the US government ‘engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes in any foreign country,’ ” according to the prosecutors’ court filing.

The Russian company’s attorneys sent the summons from Mueller’s office back to prosecutors, saying they hadn’t complied with court procedures.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/special-counsel-hits-snag-in-bringing-a-criminal-case-against-russians/ar-AAwLO24?li=BBnb7Kz

If it was not so un-funny, this would seem like a comedy routine.

Mueller: We are bringing these charges against Mr. Manafort.
Judge: Have you been given this authority?
Mueller: Of course, in this document.
Judge (reads): It doesn’t say anything in this document about you being authorized to prosecute this man.
Mueller: Oh! Just a moment (runs out of room, runs back in) Here, I have another document, dated several months ago.
Judge: This is still warm from the printer. And what are these huge black blotches.
Mueller: Really secret stuff. You can’t read it.
Judge: Right. Weren’t you authorized to chase Russians? I don’t see any Russians in this.
Mueller: The Ukranians are very Russian-ish. Practically neighbors. They run back and forth across the borders so often, they’re almost one and the same.
Judge: I seem to remember them having some sort of war against each other.
Mueller: A family spat. That’s all.

DouglasJBender | May 5, 2018 at 12:19 am

I want to hear more of the Judge and Mr. Mueller’s conversation. Very enlightening, and entertaining.

    puhiawa in reply to DouglasJBender. | May 5, 2018 at 3:11 am

    Did you know the judge can demand Mueller appear in court to argue the issue himself? I have seen it done. And if the head name does not appear, the Judge ordered the case dismissed.

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