President Trump’s former 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is suing Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court.
Manafort argues that Rosenstein didn’t have authority to appoint Mueller as special counsel, which occurred after Mr. Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. The complaint claims that the appointment was an “abuse of discretion” and therefore, he says that anything resulting from Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election should be deemed null and void. The complaint then says that Mueller’s investigation and the indictment against Manafort goes beyond the scope of his authority, and demands that Mueller “should be enjoined from further investigating any alleged conduct by Mr. Manafort that is unrelated to and predates his involvement with the Trump campaign…” It goes on to say that Manafort should be awarded injunctive relief.
Manafort and Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business associate, were indicted by a federal grand jury in the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election in October. And another Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty the same day to making false statements to the FBI. Toward the end of 2017, Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was just heating up. Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI.
Manafort joined Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016 and served in that role until August 2016. The FBI raided his home last summer, even picking the lock while he was at home asleep.
Rosenstein had the authority to appoint Mueller as special counsel because of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Rosenstein also gave Mueller broad discretion in his investigation.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice said, “The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants.” The Special Counsel declined comment.
CBS News’ Andres Triay contributed to this report.
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