Manafort had claimed the special counsel's office had no authority to bring the cases.
Without an order from the court stopping Mueller's office from pursuing other charges in the future - based on an appointment order that Downing contends was unlawful - Manafort would have to "sit and wait" and keep chasing the special counsel's office wherever they chose to prosecute him next in order to challenge Mueller's appointment, Downing said. In the filing, the special counsel's office argues that a federal judge should not throw out Manafort's case.
Special counsel Robert Mueller was authorized by a top Justice Department official to investigate whether Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, illegally coordinated with Russian Federation to interfere in the 2016 election, new court filings show. She questioned whether there was a clear limit on how broad a special counsel's authority could be from the get-go; how Manafort had standing to sue over a possible future prosecution that hadn't yet happened; and why he should be able to bring a civil lawsuit when he could make the same arguments in the criminal cases, where he clearly had the right to challenge the indictments. But a partially redacted memo included in court filings late Monday night revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also gave Mueller clearance to pursue allegations that Manafort colluded with Russian Federation in 2016. At Wednesday's hearing, Downing also said that he was no longer pursuing the second count - focused on Mueller himself - and that the lawsuit was just challenging the appointment order.
Additional sections of the two-and-half-page memo were blacked out by prosecutors, indicating that Rosenstein authorized other specific lines of investigation that remain a secret.
Though U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson broached the issue of the government's April 2 brief at Wednesday's proceedings, neither Downing nor attorneys for the Justice Department took the opportunity to address the matter directly.
Downing said he did not, and also said that he expected Jackson to ignore a provision in the special counsel regulation that bars private parties from going to court to seek to enforce internal management rules. "Do you have one case that supports this?" He said Manafort should address his indictments in his criminal cases.
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"Yes, of course", Downing said.
Manafort is charged with money laundering and tax fraud related to his lobbying work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
In the criminal case in DC, the special counsel's office earlier this week filed a redacted copy of an August memo from Rosenstein saying Mueller's office could investigate not only Manafort's involvement in the campaign, but also whether he committed crimes in connection with his work for Ukraine.
None of the charges Manafort faces alleges coordination with the Kremlin, and Manafort's attorneys had used that point to argue that Mueller had exceeded his authority by bringing charges against him accusing him of various financial crimes and acting as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of Ukrainian interests. The filing explicitly states that the special prosecutor's mandate "would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs".
"Under this regime, a runaway Special Counsel is an impossibility", the prosecutors write, referring to current laws that regulate the office of a special counsel in the Justice Department.
Prosecutors argued that their investigation would only "naturally follow the money trail from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting activities", work that resulted in the criminal charges.