DOJ authorized Mueller to investigate allegations Manafort colluded with Russia
© Greg Nash

The Department of Justice gave special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE the authority to look into allegations of collusion between President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE's former campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit George Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin Mueller releases list of more than 500 pieces of evidence against Manafort MORE, and the Russian government, according to reports.

The detail was included in a court filing Monday night in which Mueller's team defended its investigation, The Associated Press reported.

The filing says Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRosenstein warns of growing cyber threat from Russia, other foreign actors Opinion: One FBI text message in Russia probe that should alarm every American Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE wrote in a memo last year regarding the special counsel's investigation that Mueller could investigate whether Manafort "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials."

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According to the AP, Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, also said in the memo that Mueller could look into payments Manafort got from the Ukrainian government when former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was in office.

Prosecutors said in their court filing that they would "naturally look into any interactions they may have had before and during the campaign to plumb motives and opportunities to coordinate and to expose possible channels for surreptitious communications."

"And prosecutors would naturally follow the money trail from Manafort’s Ukrainian consulting activities,” they wrote.

The filing came after Manafort requested that a judge dismiss an indictment against him regarding activities prior to the 2016 presidential election, saying Mueller had exceeded his authority.

Manafort was indicted last year on money laundering charges and other alleged financial crimes.

Mueller is currently investigating Russian election interference and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the probe as a witch hunt and has denied collusion between his campaign and Russia.