The Department of Justice gave special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE the authority to look into allegations of collusion between President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE's former campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFBI agents swarm Russian oligarch's DC home DOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report Foreign lobbyists donated over M during 2020 election: report 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 RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week 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."
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.