Federal District Court Judge T.S. Eliss III, a Reagan appointee, gave Special Prosecutor Mueller a hard time in Court today by stating the obvious:
“I don’t see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in the Eastern District of Virginia said.
At a tense hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, the judge said Mueller should not have “unfettered power” in his Russia probe and that the charges against Manafort did not arise from the investigation into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
“It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unfettered power to do whatever he wants,” said Ellis, who was appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan.
Manafort is facing charges in both Virginia and Washington. The Virginia case charges him with offenses including tax and bank fraud.
The other case in Washington accuses him of conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent when he lobbied for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government.
None of the charges relate, however, to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign or possible collusion with Russia. Trump has denied any collusion.
Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing has argued that the charges must dismissed because the FBI investigation dates back to 2014, and therefore did not arise from Mueller’s probe.
The bulk of Friday’s questions by the judge were aimed squarely at Michael Dreeben, the deputy solicitor general who is currently working in Mueller’s office.
Go here to read the rest. There never was anything to the allegation that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government. Mueller has thus been on a fishing expedition for more than a year and a half in which he prosecutes former members of the Trump campaign in hopes that, in return for leniency involving offensives unrelated to the Trump campaign, they will reveal something criminal about Trump. This stinks to high heaven and Judge Ellis realizes that.