Mueller's Appellate Specialists Make Debut, Defending Manafort Charges in Trial Court

Mueller's Appellate Specialists Make Debut, Defending Manafort Charges in Trial Court

Cheryl Sanders
April 20, 2018

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week that he is not a 'target' of any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio - members of the House Freedom Caucus and the House Oversight Committee, and allies of President Donald Trump - met with Rosenstein on Monday to express concern over the "slow pace" and "excessive redactions" of documents turned over to Congress, according to an aide. The Justice Department has said the release would interfere with Mueller's investigation.

On Wednesday, Trump wouldn't confirm reports that he planned to soon fire Mueller, but said his administration has been transparent and cooperative with the probe.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

Downing, a former partner at Miller & Chevalier, has repeatedly pointed out that Manafort's alleged misconduct is entirely unrelated to the 2016 presidential campaign.

The change in attitude by the President comes after weeks of attacks on the special counsel and the Justice Department, raising questions about whether he might take drastic steps to shut down the probe. Mr. Trump was said to have seriously considered terminating Mr. Mueller in December. So we want to get the investigation over with, done with.

A USA judge expressed scepticism on Thursday as a lawyer for President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort sought to convince her to dismiss charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Jackson noted that the order used the phrase "and/or", and asked why that wouldn't mean that Mueller's team could look at links between Russian Federation and people from Trump's campaign, such as Manafort, setting aside any question of coordination. Dreeben denied that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate whatever he wanted - the regulations still required Mueller to go to Rosenstein if new matters came up, he said.

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused from the Russian Federation probe, the subpoena for the Justice Department sets up a confrontation with Rosenstein. Manafort's lawyer is set to ask for a dismissal of those charges in May before the planned July trial.

An attorney for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort did not appear to make much headway Thursday as he tried for a second time this week to see all charges against his client dismissed.

Dreeben said it would be extraordinary overreach "to pull back the curtain" of internal "personnel" and prosecutorial decision-making by an "alive and awake" deputy attorney general actively supervising a special counsel who is "not on a frolic and on a detour" from investigating what he was charged to do.

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