It’s not clear yet that anything is going to come of this, but it was nonetheless a breath of fresh air in a case that stinks to high Heaven from corruption and corrupt motives.
Prosecutors assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team faced an angry federal judge on Friday who did what Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ought to have done by now: Question the real motives behind the ‘witch hunt’ that seeks to ensnare President Donald J. Trump.
In what amounted to a pretty good scolding by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, a Reagan appointee, Mueller’s team was “harshly rebuked…during a hearing for ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — suggesting they lied about the scope of the investigation, are seeking “unfettered power and are more interested in bringing down the president,” Fox News reported.
“You really don’t care about Mr. Manafort,” Ellis said in court. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever,” he said.
Moreover, Ellis demanded to see a non-redacted version of the “scope memo,” the document that outlines the scope of Mueller’s Russia probe — a document that congressional Republicans have also sought.
Manafort’s attorneys have gone to court in an effort to get indictments against him by Mueller’s team thrown out because, in part, they have nothing at all to do with “Russian collusion” — thought to be at the heart of Mueller’s appointment.
Mueller has indicted Manafort on tax and bank fraud-related charges.
Ellis took a confrontational tone with Mueller’s team after he learned that at least some information in the probe was taken from an earlier Justice Department investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Manafort’s lawyers are arguing that Mueller does not have the authority to indict their client on the charges they have leveled. They, at least, have found some sympathy in Ellis’ courtroom.
Ellis asked the Mueller team where they received their authority to indict Manafort on alleged crimes that date back as far as 2005 — again, questions that Sessions should be demanding of Mueller since those charges obviously have nothing to do with “Russia collusion,” of which Sessions recused himself. (Related: Trump-Russia “collusion?” Democrats have used Russian-supplied disinformation against president for MONTHS.)
The team argued that Rosenstein gave Mueller broad authority in his May 2, 2017 appointment letter. However, after it was discovered that the Mueller team is utilizing information they garnered from an earlier DoJ investigation, Ellis noted that information didn’t “arise” from the current special counsel investigation.
“We don’t want anyone with unfettered power,” Ellis said.
Fox News reported further:
Mueller’s team says its authorities are laid out in documents including the August 2017 scope memo – and that some powers are actually secret because they involve ongoing investigations and national security matters that cannot be publicly disclosed.
Ellis seemed amused and not persuaded.
He briefly assumed the role of the prosecution to sum up the special counsel’s case: “We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it and we’re lying,” Ellis said, before using a common exclamation from NFL announcers: “C’mon man!”
Ellis gave the government two weeks to provide him with a non-redacted “scope memo” or give him a suitable explanation as to why it can’t be provided after the prosecution team seemed reluctant to do it by claiming that it contains material that doesn’t pertain to Manafort.
“I’ll be the judge of that,” Ellis responded.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” program in the noon hour, Rep. John Ratcliff, R-Texas, said, “There has to be leadership at the Department of Justice” in order to refocus this probe on its original mandate — finding Trump-Russia criminality, and to shut it down if there is nothing to be found.
“Bob Mueller doesn’t run the Department of Justice,” Ratcliff said.
Could have fooled us.
See more of this kind of corruption at Corruption.news.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.
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