Manafort is asking a federal court to rein in the Mueller probe.
Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who has been indicted on charges of money laundering and lying about his ties to a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party, is suing the Justice Department to try to end special counsel Robert Muller’s Russia investigation.
The complaint, filed in federal court on Wednesday, names the Department of Justice, Robert Mueller, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel after Trump fired FBI director James Comey in May 2017.
It makes two arguments: 1) The special counsel investigation is unlawful, and therefore should be dissolved; and 2) even if the special counsel investigation were lawful, the charges against Manafort are outside the scope of the investigation and thus are not valid.
Legal experts say the lawsuit will most likely go nowhere. A Justice Department spokesperson said, “The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file what he wants.” The special counsel’s office declined to comment.
Experts see it as more of a public relations stunt aimed at further bolstering the growing campaign among some conservative Trump allies to discredit the Mueller probe.
“I think Manafort is throwing a Hail Mary with this lawsuit,” Andy Wright, a former White House lawyer who is now at Savannah Law School, told me in an interview.
Here’s what’s going on.
Manafort is asking the court to rein in the Mueller probe
The first part of Manafort’s legal complaint argues that Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mueller, didn’t actually have the legal authority to appoint a special counsel. If the judge agrees with Manafort, then Mueller could lose his job.
That would make Trump and the conservatives who oppose the Mueller investigation really happy, but experts say it’s unlikely to happen Read More Here