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

The Department of Justice gave special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE the authority to look into allegations of collusion between President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE's former campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCuomo signs measure allowing New York to press charges despite presidential pardon Rand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter He who must not be named: How Hunter Biden became a conversation-stopper 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 RosensteinTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Mueller rejoins DC law firm Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it 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.