DOJ, Mueller and Rosenstein Under 'Siege'

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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort issued a lawsuit against the Special Counsel and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday afternoon, arguing Robert Mueller's probe of the 2016 presidential election has expanded far beyond his original jurisdiction.

It accused Rosenstein of exceeding his legal authority to "grant Mr Mueller carte blanche to investigate and pursue criminal charges in connection with anything he stumbles across".

The Trump Organization turned over documents in 2017 to the investigation into alleged collusion between Russian Federation and the Donald Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election campaign, according to three sources. A spokesman for Mueller's office, Peter Carr, declined to comment.

A Justice Department statement dismissed the lawsuit as "frivolous", but also acknowledged that Manafort can sue whoever he wants.

If Mueller had in fact gone too far in charging Manafort, it would be up to the attorney general to call him on the conduct - and ultimately up to the president to withdraw the charges.

Mueller, in late October, announced that Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates faced 12 charges, including conspiracy against the United States and money laundering.

Unlike Manafort, Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December and is believed to be cooperating with investigators.

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The suit asks for a judgment setting aside the order appointing Mueller, and an order setting aside all actions taken against Manafort as a result of the wrongful appointment order. Both are still under home confinement, although the judge has ruled on the pretrial release conditions for Manafort. His trial for a number of charges is set to begin in May. Gates is not part of Manafort's civil lawsuit against the Justice Department.

While the lawyers have met with Mueller's team before and might again, the sources believed the December check-in would be significant because it came after the completion of interviews of White House personnel requested by the special counsel and after all requested documents have been turned over.

Mr. Rosenstein then allowed Mr. Mueller a wider berth, saying he could investigate "any matters that arose or may arise" from the Russian Federation probe. Starr wasn't appointed by Clinton but by a special judicial panel created under a federal law that allowed for the appointment of independent counsel.

Manafort's lawsuit notes that during his time working for the Ukrainian government he met regularly with the USA ambassador in Kiev, suggesting that the U.S. government knew what he was doing at the time. "If I'm the government, I'm licking my chops to file this response. So I can assure you that the special counsel is conducting himself consistently with our understanding about the scope of his investigation".

That would make Trump and the conservatives who oppose the Mueller investigation really happy, but experts say it's unlikely to happen because Rosenstein purposefully didn't limit Mueller's duties in his appointment.

The FBI can provide the special counsel with the adequate resources for their investigation and have a staff consisting of lawyers.

Manafort, 68, who advised Republican presidential candidates in the 1970s and '80s, later moved into lobbying and political consulting, working with foreign leaders to ingratiate themselves with Washington.

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