A federal judge ruled Tuesday against the motion by lawyers for Paul Manafort to dismiss the charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.
Here’s why the judge ruled against Manafort
The former campaign manager for President Trump is being charged in Washington D.C. with failing to register as a lobbyist while working in Ukraine. His lawyers filed for a dismissal on the basis that the charges extended beyond the scope of Mueller’s appointment.
“The motion to dismiss will be denied for a number of reasons,” ruled U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a 36-page opinion.
“First, the indictment falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel that Manafort finds unobjectionable: the order to investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign,'” she continued.
Later in the opinion, the judge clearly says that it was squarely within Mueller’s scope to pursue Manafort’s links to Russia.
“The Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government,” she said.
“He was appointed to take over an existing investigation,” the judge explains, “and it appears from the chronology and the written record that the matters contained in the Superseding Indictment were already a part of the ongoing inquiry that was lawfully transferred to the Special Counsel by the Department of Justice in May of 2017.”
This means that the criminal case against Manafort in Washington D.C. can move forward. Manafort is also facing charges of bank fraud in Virginia.
A May CBS poll showed that a majority of Americans responded that the investigation by special counsel Mueller is “politically driven,” a charge the president has made constantly since its inception.