Judge Slaps Down Paul Manafort's Challenge to Mueller Indictment: 'Falls Squarely' Within His Authority
U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson on Tuesday denied President Donald Trump's one-time campaign chairman Paul Manafort in his request to dismiss the charges brought against him by the special counsel.
Jackson ordered that Robert Mueller's authority under the special counsel guidelines is wide enough to cover investigation of Manafort, given he was Trump's campaign chairman. She cites the instructions drafted for Mueller by Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein, which instruct the special counsel to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign."
Manafort was, at one time, not merely “associated with,” but the chairman of, the Presidential campaign, and his work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record. It was logical and appropriate for investigators tasked with the investigation of “any links” between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign to direct their attention to him.
But her ruling is even stronger than that. She goes on to say: "[Even] if one posits that the scrutiny of Manafort’s alleged activities on behalf of Ukraine did not flow from the investigation of 'links' to Russia that was assigned to the Special Counsel, and that instead, it was a 'matter that arose' from that investigation, the indictment should not be dismissed."
This reading constitutes a grant of wide authority to Mueller's team, suggesting that any other attempts to challenge his jurisdiction will face significant hurdles.