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

The Department of Justice gave special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE the authority to look into allegations of collusion between President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE's former campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortWebb: Questions for Robert Mueller Top Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller 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 Rosenstein10 questions for Robert Mueller What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony 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.