Judge throws out Manafort's latest attempt to block Mueller

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T201447Z_977951353_RC19AF2C0060_RTRMADP_3_USA-IRAN-GIULIANI

Earlier this month, Judge T.S. Ellis, a federal judge in Virginia, questioned the scope of Mueller's investigation, at times warning against "unfettered power" and calling attention to the fact that charges against Manafort predate his time on the Trump campaign. Berman Jackson wrote. "Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest".

The lawyers said the case "has absolutely nothing to do with any links or coordination between any candidate and the Russian government", and thus does not carry out Mueller's mandate from Congress to pursue alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

A federal judge Tuesday rejected former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's bid to dismiss a criminal indictment against him.

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A spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment.

Manafort and his lawyer's had argued Rosenstein acted improperly by appointing Mueller to investigate collusion with Russian Federation and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

"It bears emphasizing at this stage that Manafort is presumed to be innocent of these charges", Jackson said.

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks to the media with an announcement that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and several Russian entities, February 16, 2018, in Washington. The memo shows Rosenstein specifically authorised Mueller to investigate payments Manafort received from the Ukrainian government "before and during the tenure" of then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who was one of Manafort's clients. "The management of the investigation into the allegations against Manafort has been consistent with the objectives and requirements of the set of regulations as a whole, as well as the terms of the individual regulation upon which the defendant relies", said Jackson, a 2011 Obama appointee.

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.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, none of which are directly related to work he performed for Trump's campaign.

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Manafort has filed a similar motion to dismiss his charges in Virginia.

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