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Mueller Investigation Was Given Wide Scope By Justice Department

April 3, 2018

Over the months some Republicans and conservatives have urged the end to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump and the 2016 presidential campaign, along with Russian influence peddling.    It is taking too long they cry.  The investigation is taking on more issues than was allowed by the Justice Department they screech.

On both counts those who make such claims are standing on a sinkhole.

Today news is being reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explicitly authorized the Justice Department’s special counsel to investigate allegations that Trump’s former campaign chairman colluded with the Russian government.

That is not, as the far-right likes to chant, ‘fake news’, but comes directly from a court filing.  Granted, the same Luddites who rail against facts also lob insults on law and order institutions such as the FBI and Justice Department.  But for the majority in the nation this court filing matters.

Mueller’s team of prosecutors included that detail in a memo defending the scope of their investigation, which so far has resulted in criminal charges against 19 people and three Russian companies.  Today Mueller obtained the first sentence in his high-profile investigation as a Dutch attorney who admitted to lying to investigators was sent to prison for 30 days.

But in this new filing prosecutors revealed that Rosenstein — who appointed Mueller — wrote a memo last August that outlined the scope of Mueller’s appointment.  This is mighty important to know as it runs counter to the partisan and hackneyed rants from the right-wingers.  (I love it when they have to eat crow!)

The memo, which had not previously been released publicly and remains redacted in parts, said that Mueller was empowered to investigate allegations that Manafort “committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials” to interfere with the presidential election.

None of the charges Manafort currently faces alleges coordination with the Kremlin, and Manafort’s attorneys had used that point to argue that Mueller had exceeded his authority.

But Monday’s filing appears to undercut that argument.

In addition to authorizing the Russia collusion investigation of Manafort, we now know that Rosenstein also specifically authorized Mueller to investigate any crimes related to payments Manafort received from the Ukrainian government.

Gotcha!

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