President Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was indicted in late October as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation, is suing Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and the Department of Justice, CNBC reports.
Mueller was appointed by Rosenstein last spring to oversee the federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with President Trump's campaign or associates. Manafort stands accused of massive financial crimes, including tax evasion, money laundering, fraud, false statements, and "conspiracy against the United States." Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, who was also charged, "knowingly and willfully, without registering with the attorney general as required by law, acted as agents of a foreign principal, to wit, the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions, and [pro-Moscow Ukrainian politician Viktor] Yanukovych," the Mueller indictment alleges. Manafort has pleaded not guilty.
Manafort's lawsuit challenges the legality of the appointment of Mueller by Rosenstein and the Justice Department and singles out "the conduct of Mr. Mueller as beyond his jurisdiction under the appointment order. The actions of the Special Counsel are reviewable under the Declaratory Judgment Act and under the long-recognized authority of the federal courts to grant equitable relief to prevent injurious acts by public officers."
The charge against Manafort that is nearest to the stated scope of Russia investigation is that Manafort acted as an "unregistered agent of a foreign principal," although Rosenstein's order also states that Mueller is allowed to investigate "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." That clause, Manafort's lawyers argue, improperly gives Mueller "carte blanche to investigate and pursue criminal charges in connection with anything he stumbles across while investigating, no matter how remote from the specific matter identified as the subject of the appointment order."