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Russia

Paul Manafort sues special counsel who indicted him for fraud and money laundering

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is suing the Department of Justice, claiming that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III overstepped his authority by filing criminal charges unrelated to the 2016 presidential campaign. 

“The investigation of Mr. Manafort is completely unmoored from the Special Counsel’s original jurisdiction to investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,’” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court on Wednesday.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering related to his lobbying work in Ukraine before the campaign began. Although the allegations extend into 2016, they haven’t involved campaign activity.

"Mr. 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," the lawsuit says.

Manafort’s former deputy, Richard Gates, has pleaded not guilty to the same charges. Their trial is scheduled to begin this spring. 

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The Justice Department letter appointing Mueller as special counsel last May empowered him to investigate any links between Trump’s campaign and Russian interference in the campaign. It also authorized Mueller “to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.”

Two other former Trump aides, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and former campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, have each pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their meetings with Russian officials and are cooperating with Mueller.

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