Manafort’s team has been fighting in court to get his indictment dropped because they claim Mueller doesn’t have the authority to prosecute him. Their argument claims that Mueller is overstepping his authority granted to him.
Early this week Mueller’s team responded to the claim pointing to the May 2017 appointment order allowing Mueller to investigate:
(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)
The last part of the regulation says, “The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” Mueller argues that he didn’t skirt the regulations because he did receive a “specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated” from Rod Rosenstein which was revealed in court on Monday.
However, there is one problem that Mueller’s team didn’t mention…the dates.
The memo released in court approving an investigation in Manafort from Rod Rosenstein is dated August 2, 2017. Manafort’s home was searched on July 26, 2017 meaning Rosenstein didn’t approve a further investigation into Manafort until six days after Mueller raided his house.
Legal experts are split (of course they are):
“There is something very wrong about that,” said Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz on Fox News Tuesday night, adding that the scope of the investigation should be clearly defined. “This special prosecutor is looking at everything. Where does it stop?”
Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor, and Law&Crime contributor doesn’t think it would really impact the Manafort case.
“As the Special Counsel persuasively argues in its opposition, the investigation underlying the charged conduct was properly within the mandate of the original order,” Goldman said in an email to Law&Crime. “ Regardless, given that Manafort was the campaign manager from May 2016 to August 2016 – during the time of the Trump Tower meeting, which he attended, the Republican National Convention, for which the Russia platform was changed, and the leaked hacked DNC emails – we know of ample evidence related to collusion and Manafort to support this search warrant. The Aug 2 memo just provided more explicit detail that was not necessary but just dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.”
The problem is most investigators dot the “i’s and cross the t’s” before they search so the evidence doesn’t get thrown out.