(Washington Times) Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is directly challenging Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charging in a law suit filed on Wednesday that the prosecutor lacked the legal authority to investigate and indict him on pre-2016 money laundering charges.
Attorney Kevin Downing’s suit in U.S. District Court says Mr. Mueller was appointed in May with a mandate to investigate possible Russia-Trump campaign collusion in the hacking of Democrat Party computers.
The indictment, however, has nothing to do with the 2016 presidential campaign. The counts against Mr. Manafort go as far back as 2005 and deal with money he earned while a political consultant in the Ukraine. That role ended in 2014, two years before Mr. Manafort joined the Trump campaign for a relatively brief stint as manager.
The suit asks a District Court judge to throw out the indictment and order Mr. Mueller to cease investigating matters that happened before the campaign. It says Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mr. Mueller, did not follow Justice Department guidelines.
Mr. Downing discloses that Mr. Manafort was interviewed by the Justice Department and FBI in 2014 as a “witness,” not as a suspect, in a federal investigation of a former Ukraine president.
The information was resurrected by Mr. Mueller three years later and used to get a grand jury indictment.