Legal boundaries have been overstepped by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to a former campaign manager of United States President Donald Trump named Pahasul Manafort. Mueller has filed criminal charges against Manafort and the latter will attempting to convince judges to dismiss the case on Wednesday.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was the Justice Department official who appointed Mueller, for the case against Manafort, who in turn has filed a civil lawsuit against both of them. The case which was filed on January the 3rd, is set to test how far the mandate of the special counsel is legally allowed to extend. Mueller is seeking to investigate if there were any obstructions created by Trump unlawfully, in a case of potential collusion between Russia and the campaign of the president.
Manafort’s lawyer will get a first chance during the hearing at Wednesday, to convince Amy Berman Jackson, who’s the U.S. District Court Judge that Mueller has legally stepped out of his capacity as special counselor and he needs to be stopped. Manafort is one of the many people charged over the probe of Trump’s presidency by Mueller.
On Tuesday, a prison sentence of 30 days was carried out by Mueller and his investigators, to Alex van der Zwaan, for lying to them. Van der Zwaan has previously worked with Manafort, as well as Rick Gates, who was the deputy chairman of Trump’s campaign.
Mueller has brought two indictments in the courts of Washington and Alexandria, Virginia against Manafort, who is facing multiple charges. Manafort was working as a campaign chairman for Trump during the U.S. 2016 election, before also working for a Ukrainian president who was pro-Russian. He faces charges of failure to register as a foreign agent, money laundering conspiracy, bank fraud and filing of false tax returns, though he pleaded not guilty to each one.
Challenging criminal charges by using civil litigation is not usually allowed to defendants such as Manafort. Instead, the proper way to challenge the allegations, is to directly bring up the matter in the criminal case and this is a point which will be brought up by the lawyers of Justice Department, during the hearing on Wednesday.
The process to be followed by federal agencies in writing regulations, is written out in the rather clandestine Administrative Procedure Act and is the basis of Manafort’s lawsuit. In May of 2017. Mueller was appointed by Rosenstein to carry out the investigation, using the practice of hiring special prosecutors, the rules of which are governed by the Justice Department.
It is expected that Manafort’s lawyer will put forth the argument that Mueller’s role is too broad, as it allows him to probe into any issues surrounding the 2016 election and Russia’s involvement in it, which is illegal in the eyes of law. Another argument that will be presented, is that the current case is not a part of the investigation into Russia’s involvement, as a similar case was conducted by FBI on Manafort and closed in 2014. However, those charges are not connected to the 2016 election campaign.