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Friday, January 5, 2018
Paul Manafort, victim of no-knock Mueller raid, files suit against Mueller
the Manafort lawsuit against the corrupt Robert Mueller
Paul Manafort, who worked on Donald
Trump's presidential campaign, filed
suit to challenge the authority of Robert Mueller under the special counsel
law, alleging that the order appointing Mueller is vague and overly broad and
that the indictments against Manafort should be dismissed.
This is not a defense on the merits
of the charges against Manafort, but Manafort is correct that the order
appointing Mueller is broad and vague. The civil complaint seeks
a declaratory judgment that the appointment violates the law.
The law authorizing a
special counsel provides for the following:
28 CFR 600.4 - Jurisdiction
jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special
Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will
be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.
The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to
investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with
intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury,
obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses;
and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or
Manafort and Mueller
The law requires that the attorney
general specify the specific factual statement of the matter to be
investigated. In this case, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein issued the
following order to Mueller:
By virtue of the authority vested in
me as [a]cting [a]ttorney [g]eneral … and to ensure a full and thorough
investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016
presidential election, I hereby order as follows: ...
b) The [s]pecial [c]ounsel is
authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI [d]irector James
Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
on March 20, 2017, including: (i) any links and/or coordination between the
Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President
Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the
This is not a "specific factual
statement of the matter to be investigated." What are "links
and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated
with the campaign of President Donald Trump"? The words "links"
and "coordination" are broad and vague and can mean any
contact. The words "individuals associated" are broad and vague
and can mean any person, however remote to President Trump, who had some
"association" with President Trump. They can include persons
who never met Trump and persons unknown to Trump.
The purpose of the investigation as
set forth in the preamble is"to
ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to
interfere in the 2016 presidential election[.]"
Rosenstein does not state a specific
factual statement about how the Russian government tried to interfere with the
election. He does not even state that the Russian government did
interfere with the election. He states only that we have to investigate the
"efforts" of the Russian government to interfere. If Rosenstein
had any evidence of actual interference with our election, he would have and
should have specified the interference. Moreover, Rosenstein does not
even state how the Russian government tried to interfered as a specific factual
statement for Mueller to investigate.
Comey, Rosenstein and Mueller
The only statement to Mueller is to
investigate "links and/or coordination" between the Russian
government and anyone "associated" with the campaign of President
Rosenstein refers to Comey's
testimony of March 17, 2017 before the House Intelligence Committee as a basis
for the order to appoint Mueller. Comey's testimony is even
more broad and vague than Rosenstein's order:
I have been authorized by the
Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence
mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the
2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any
links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian
government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and
Russia's efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this
will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.
Because it is an open ongoing
investigation and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and
whose conduct we are examining[.]
Comey testified merely that the FBI
was investing "any links between individuals associated with the Trump
campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination
between the campaign and Russia's efforts." This is almost verbatim
the language in Rosenstein's order. Comey used the same words – that the
FBI was investigating the "Russian government's efforts to
interfere." Comey does not say the Russians did interfere with the
Mueller was given a broad, vague
order to investigate without a clear, specific factual statement about the
matter to be investigated.
Mueller will have to rely on the
broad language of "links, coordination, and associations" to justify
his investigation of Manafort for alleged crimes not related to the 2016
election. But it is those broad, vague words that are contested as the
basis of Mueller's jurisdiction.
The Justice Department has not done
its duty to properly appoint a special counsel. Manafort has asked a
federal court to do the job the Justice Department should have done.
Mueller will argue that the court should not use its judgment to rewrite the
order because that is the function of the Justice Department. But the
court can rule on whether the indictments exceed the scope of the order, which
means that Mueller did not have jurisdiction to investigate and file the
charges against Manafort.
The Justice Department should step in
to review the status of the Mueller investigation and clarify and limit the
order as required by law to give Mueller a specific factual statement, if such
a factual basis exists, about what he is to investigate. The obvious
conclusion is that a specific factual statement cannot be given because there
are no specific facts to include.