Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, under indictment on money laundering charges, has challenged the authority of special counsel Robert Mueller and alleged the DOJ violated the law, in a federal lawsuit he filed Wednesday.
The lawsuit calls the independent counsel law as “widely seen as ‘misguided’ because it created ‘unaccountable prosecutors wielding infinite resources whenever there is a plausible allegation of a technical crime.”
The independent counsel law was created in 1978, in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon and the Watergate. Congress failed to reauthorize it in 1999, prompting the Department of Justice to promulgate regulations that give the Attorney General authority to appoint a “special counsel.”
The lawsuit contends that acting attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller exceeded Rosenstein’s authority. And it alleges that Mueller’s conduct has gone beyond his original jurisdiction.
Mueller was appointed to investigate and prosecute “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” of any coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Trump.
The lawsuit says Mueller should be enjoined from further investigation. It seeks an order declaring Mueller’s appointment invalid and abuse of discretion and to set aside all actions against Manafort. It also asks that the court declare Mueller has no authority to investigate business dealings arising from the appointment order.
Case: Manafort v. U.S. Dept of Justice, No. 18-cv-11