A Federal judge in Virginia lambasted prosecutors in the Paul Manafort case, questioning the basis of the charges and whether the special counsel has “unlimited authority”. Judge Ellis told the prosecutors he believed the entire case was intended to get Trump impeached or to charge him with crimes.
Finally a judge says what we all know to be true. This phony probe is a witch hunt to destroy President Trump, his family and anyone who dares work for him.
“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 in the Eastern District of Virginia said.
Judge Ellis is hearing an aggressive defense of Paul Manafort on dozens of charges brought against him by Robert Mueller. Manafort was the chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign for several months and he is requesting a dismissal to one of the two indictments against him in the Russia probe.
Manafort’s attorneys argue the charges are invalid because they do not relate specifically to Russian collusion.
US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III also suggested special counsel Robert Mueller’s office had brought the charges against Manafort to get him to flip against Trump.
The Judge Says They’re Out to Get the President
The judge said this appears to be an effort to charge the President or impeach him.
“How does bank fraud in 2005 or 2006 have anything to do with coordination with the Russian government?” Judge T.S. Ellis III said during a morning hearing. “What is really going on, it seems to me, is that this indictment is put pressure on Mr. Manafort, but in and of itself has nothing to do with your appointment.”
“That’s what you’re really interested in,” said Ellis, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
He repeated that suspicion several times, CNN reported. At times, he became angry.
The judge said the charges have nothing to do with the Russia probe and no special prosecutor should have unlimited power.
“We don’t want anyone in this country with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special prosecutor has power to do anything he or she wants,” Ellis told Dreeben. “The American people feel pretty strongly that no one has unfettered power.”
When Dreeben answered Ellis’ question about how the investigation and its charges date back to before the Trump campaign formed, the judge shot back, “None of that information has to do with information related to Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump.”
Mueller team member Michael Dreeban is an expert on phony obstruction charges as Professor Jonathan Turley has pointed out.
According to BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman, US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III also said prosecutors don’t care about the bank fraud.
“I don’t see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” Ellis said to prosecutors. “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. … What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”
“The vernacular is, ‘to sing,'” Ellis quipped.
Mocking the Prosecutor And Demanding the Scope Memo Unredacted
The judge wants to know what authority Robert Mueller is acting under and wants to see the scope memo.
At one point, Ellis posed a hypothetical question, speaking as if he were the prosecutor, about why Mueller’s office referred a criminal investigation about Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to New York authorities and kept the Manafort case in Virginia.
They weren’t interested in it because it didn’t “further our core effort to get Trump,” Ellis said. He mimicked one of the prosecutors in the case.
Mueller’s prosecutors will have to turn over a full, unredacted version of the August 2 memo that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein used to describe the criminal allegations Mueller’s team could investigate, Ellis ordered.
Rosenstein has refused to give the memo to Congress.
Judge Ellis has not issued a ruling. He might still rule in the prosecution’s favor and just wants his opinion on the record.