Tags: Russia Probe | fbi | special counsel | robert mueller | paul manafort | lawsuit

National Review's Andrew McCarthy: Dismiss Paul Manafort's 'Frivolous' Lawsuit

Image: National Review's Andrew McCarthy: Dismiss Paul Manafort's 'Frivolous' Lawsuit
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (Matt Rourke/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 04 Jan 2018 07:08 PM

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's "frivolous civil lawsuit" against Russia special counsel Robert Mueller and other prosecutors "should be swiftly dismissed," National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy said Thursday.

"Manafort's underlying complaint is a serious one, aimed at Mueller's jurisdiction to prosecute crimes beyond the scope of the so-called Russia investigation," McCarthy said.

"But his counsel undermine their colorable claim, and no doubt damage their standing with the judge in Manafort’s criminal case, by pulling this stunt."

Mueller's team indicted Manafort in October on money laundering and tax charges, along with longtime business associate Rick Gates.

Manafort sued Mueller's team, as well as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Justice Department, on Wednesday — contending the Moscow probe has exceeded its original scope.

Instead of the civil action, McCarthy said Manafort's lawyers should have sought a motion to dismiss the indictment before the judge in the criminal case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

"Instead, he has sued the prosecutors" under an obscure statute known as the Administrative Procedure Act.

"Manafort's civil lawsuit is specious because it is not the proper way to raise his objections," McCarthy said. "It is also foolish because it will likely irritate Judge Jackson.

"She is apt to see this charade as an effort by Manafort's lawyers to shop around for another judge because she is somehow incapable of fairly applying the law.

"That is not the way you want to start out with the jurist who will make all the important decisions in your client's case," McCarthy argued.

"Expect the civil suit to be dismissed forthwith."

However, Manafort's claim — that Mueller "lacks jurisdiction to proceed on the charges that have been filed" — is legitimate, McCarthy said.

He argued Rosenstein should have appointed Mueller only after evidence of Russian meddling had been found by the FBI and other investigative agencies.

Rosenstein named Mueller special counsel in May after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

"In our system, articulable suspicion of a concrete crime must precede the appointment of a prosecutor," McCarthy said.

"We are not supposed to assign a prosecutor unless there is, in the first place, a real cause to believe a crime has been committed."

This is necessary to ensure the special counsel's probe "does not become a fishing expedition and otherwise resemble an unconstitutional 'general warrant,'" he argued.

"The FBI could easily have proceeded with its Russia counterintelligence investigation without the appointment of any prosecutor at all."

Further, Manafort was indicted on charges that "do not fit the criteria for a special counsel's original jurisdiction," McCarthy said.

"They involve neither the Russia investigation, nor an effort to obstruct the Russia investigation."

The Manafort indictment stems from an "unrelated scheme that goes back to the early 2000s and involves his political consulting work for a Ukrainian political party," he said.

"Though this Ukrainian party was backed by the Kremlin, the indicted conduct . . . has nothing to do with Russia's interference in the election or Manafort's brief stint as Trump campaign chairman.

"The Ukrainian scheme is outside the scope of Mueller's original jurisdiction," McCarthy said.

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Paul Manafort's "frivolous civil lawsuit" against FBI special counsel Robert Mueller and other Russia-meddling in the 2016 election prosecutors "should be swiftly dismissed," according to National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy.
fbi, special counsel, robert mueller, paul manafort, lawsuit
Thursday, 04 Jan 2018 07:08 PM
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