In a pointed rejection of Manafort's claims late on May 15, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with Mueller, ruling that his case against Manafort is not overly broad or improper despite not being directly connected to the election.
Third, Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had broad authority to "authorize the Special Counsel to investigate not only 'links and/or coordination, ' but also, 'any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.'" So even if the charges against Manafort were not sufficiently tied to Russian Federation, they could still potentially proceed under the remainder of the powers delegated to Mueller.
Jackson said the case against Manafort should proceed even if scrutiny of his past activity came about not from the investigation of "links" to Russian but rather as a "matter that arose" from that probe.
In addition to the Washington indictment, Manafort also faces charges in Virginia of bank fraud and tax evasion.
Manafort was, at one time, not merely "associated with", but the chairman of, the Presidential campaign, and his work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record.
After Jackson's ruling against Manafort, his spokesman Jason Maloni said Manafort "maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter". Manafort has asked a different federal judge there to dismiss his case on similar grounds.
To be clear, nothing in Jackson's decision is especially surprising - Manafort's challenge to Mueller's authority was always a long shot that was unlikely to prevail.More news: Oil dips on signs of ample supply despite OPEC cuts, Iran sanctions
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I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate.
"What they address is who decides who the prosecutor will be", she said.
Ellis set a trial date for July 10, but hasn't ruled yet on whether to dismiss.
In her 37-page ruling, Jackson went through a point-by-point rejection of Manafort's arguments, including his contention that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate anything "he may stumble across".
She cited an August 2017 memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that prosecutors had filed in the case.
It said that Mueller should purse allegations that Manafort "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials" and that he committed crimes "arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government" before and after the term of President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia. In his bid to dismiss the indictment, Downing took aim at a portion of an order establishing Mueller's office that gave the special counsel the power to probe "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".