Judge: Prosecutors Want Manafort to 'Sing' About Trump
Judge: Prosecutors Want Manafort to 'Sing' About Trump
Matt Rourke AP
06 May, 2018, 00:03
The hearing was held to examine whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation have misused their power.
Just a few hours after U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis grilled Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team on how the indictment brought against Paul Manafort in Virginia is relevant to the Russian Federation probe, Trump tried to use Ellis' comments from the hearing to support his claim that the Russian Federation probe is a "witch hunt".
"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud".
"You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment - or whatever", he said, according to Fox News.
Judge Ellis was appointed to the bench by President Reagan in 1987.
"I don't see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate", said US District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia.
Manafort also is arguing that one of the charges against him, failing to register as a foreign agent in 2011, is too old to be prosecuted and that the searches of his home and storage unit were unconstitutional.
Trump commented on Ellis' rebuke in a speech Friday afternoon at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Dallas.
A federal judge said Special Counsel Robert Mueller should not have "unfettered power" in probing ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, and accused Mueller of using criminal cases to pressure Trump's allies to turn against him.
Trump also told the crowd, "We're all fighting battles, but I love fighting these battles".
"We said this is what the investigation was about but we are not bound by it and we were lying".
Though he faces another criminal case in DC federal court, Manafort refused the prosecutors' earlier request to move these charges out of Ellis' district and combine them with the DC case.
Manafort is alleged to have hidden from US tax authorities the tens of millions of dollars he earned advising pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine from 2006 to 2015 - including Ukraine's pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted by street protests in Kyiv and fled Ukraine in 2014.
"The vernacular is, 'to sing, '" the judge said, adding that the danger was, "they may not just sing, they may compose".
Dreeben also referred to an August memorandum from Rosenstein authorizing Mueller to investigate whether Manafort illegally coordinated with Russian Federation in 2016. The redactions, Dreben argued, were made for national security reasons.
Ellis also said that he thought that what Manafort was being accused of was beyond the scope of Mueller's legal authority.
But Ellis wasn't satisfied, charging the lawyer's answer showed he was "not really telling the truth" about the investigation.
"I'll be the judge", Ellis said.
Ellis also complained that the bulk of that August memo he received was highly redacted. Manafort maintains his innocence.
Ellis has instructed Mueller's office to ask USA intelligence agencies to allow him to personally review a sealed, unredacted version of the memo.
President Trump has repeatedly characterized the Mueller investigation as a witch hunt.
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