National Security

Mueller team gives judge unredacted memo on Russia mandate

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Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday provided a federal judge with an unredacted memo detailing the scope of his investigation.

Mueller’s team made the filing after Judge T.S. Ellis III requested the full document, Bloomberg and Reuters report. The memo was written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation, and spells out in detail what Mueller can investigate.

The document was filed under court seal.

A heavily redacted version of the memo has already been made public. 

{mosads}In one section of the memo, Rosenstein gives Mueller the authority to investigate allegations that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort “committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials” during the 2016 presidential race. The memo also authorizes Mueller to investigate whether Manafort “committed a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government.”

The other areas of Mueller’s investigation are blacked out.

Ellis requested the full memo in order to judge Manafort’s argument that the Mueller investigation has exceeded the scope of its legal authority by investigating Manafort’s personal business dealings. Manafort argues those dealings are unrelated to Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The judge questioned prosecutors at a May 4 court hearing as to why they were interested in Manafort’s financial dealings, arguing that Mueller’s attorneys “don’t really care” about the charges of bank fraud and tax fraud that they brought against Manafort.

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Ellis said at the hearing, adding: “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever.”

The Rosenstein memo has become a highly sought after document in the battle over Mueller’s investigation.

Conservatives in the House are pushing the Justice Department to give the full memo to Congress, which officials are resisting. They have asked President Trump to intervene and order Attorney General Jeff Sessions to produce the document.

The proceeding against Manafort in Ellis’s court, for the Eastern District of Virginia, is one of two criminal cases that the special counsel has brought against Manafort.

The other was brought in the District of Columbia, where a judge on Tuesday  rejected Manafort’s attempt to have the charges against him tossed out. The judge maintained that it was appropriate for investigators to look into Manafort’s lobbying history.

“The Special Counsel was authorized from the start to investigate the defendant not only for coordinating with the Russian government, but also for violations of law arising out of payments received from the former President of Ukraine,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote on Tuesday.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Jeff Sessions Paul Manafort Paul Manafort Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Russia Investigation Ukraine

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