I did not realize until I read the full transcript of Friday’s court hearing how badly it went for the Mueller team, which was reduced to arguing: yeah, we violated the regulations governing special counsels but those regs are not enforceable in court. https://t.co/mNG8aNsI2h— Brit Hume (@brithume) May 6, 2018
Mueller’s team may be right that the court can’t toss the Manafort indictment based on violation of the special counsel regulations, but we are in debt to the judge for bringing such a violation to light.— Brit Hume (@brithume) May 6, 2018
Great thread if you’re interested in the Federal Court hearing 5/4 where the judge challenged the special counsel’s authority to conduct the investigation that led the a Paul Manafort indictment. Interesting read. https://t.co/Bb5rzggSkG— Brit Hume (@brithume) May 5, 2018
I got my hands on the May 4 transcript from the USA v. Manafort hearing in front of Judge Ellis. (Thanks to a close friend.)— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Here we go... pic.twitter.com/MsEmKIlUhn
Judge Ellis immediately lays out his understanding of the Manafort case: The criminal indictment relates back to 2005, 2007, etc., that the DOJ investigation of Manafort had been going on for years.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
The Special Counsel (SC) concedes that fact. pic.twitter.com/0fa711HOCT
Judge: When SC was appointed, did DOJ turn over their Manafort file to you?— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Special Counsel: [Evades]
Judge: "I'm sorry. Answer my question." pic.twitter.com/Otfgbxezhw
Judge Ellis:— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
"If I look at the indictment, none of that information has anything to do with links or coordination between the Russian gov't and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump." pic.twitter.com/GzYgUlyR0d
Judge Ellis recognizes what this is: an attempt by Mueller to squeeze Manafort. He likens the whole thing to a small-time drug dealer getting pinched.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
"I think we out to be very clear about these facts and what is happening." pic.twitter.com/6UpL1NdP5B
The Judge lays out his correct observation that this case is all about leverage— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
He asks the Special Counsel if that assessment is wrong.
The Special Counsel refuses to answer the question. Twice. pic.twitter.com/4vi1KKOglU
Judge: How does the 2005/2007 bank fraud have anything to do with coordination b/w the Russians and the Trump campaign?— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Special Counse: [More evasion]
Judge: "You're running away from my question again." pic.twitter.com/RMCVPMtY35
Important exchange here.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
SC explains to the Judge that the indictments are w/in the scope of the SC appointment: leads from the prior DOJ case eventually contributed to and led to the indictment.
The Judge isn't convinced. pic.twitter.com/YaVX20rROT
SC: If the investigation is valid, the crimes that arose from that investigation are w/in the SC's authority to prosecute.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Judge: "Even though it didn't arise from your investigation. It arose from a preexisting investigation."
An amazingly arrogant sequence here by team Mueller.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
The SC is basically telling the Judge that grants of authority to the Special Counsel cannot be challenged through the courts.
Not "judicially enforceable." pic.twitter.com/droTOG82vB
That is what elicited Judge Ellis's response that we don't want "unfettered power."— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Judge Ellis continues, saying he's not going to be persuaded that Mueller has "unlimited powers to do anything" Mueller wants. pic.twitter.com/rysP4lIH9x
Here, Judge Ellis is requesting the full August 2 Rosenstein memo.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Important Q: What if the memo proves right Judge Ellis's suspicions about the SC being a means to impeachment? pic.twitter.com/Q7KgFODbyL
Eventually the SC sits down and it's Manafort's lawyer's turn.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Judge Ellis to Manafort's lawyer: Does the 8/2 memo remedy any issue with Mueller's jurisdiction?
Manafort's lawyer: No. It can't retroactively be remedied. pic.twitter.com/cacD2MRZHC
Judge: Isn't the right result to give the case back to the EDVA USAO?— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Manafort lawyer: No - Mueller had no authority to conduct a grand jury investigation, to get search warrants, to get the indictment.
[Personal note: I just don't see the judge going that far.] pic.twitter.com/20Q7MJhC2l
It's time to start punching back: Manafort's lawyer almost accuses the SC of lying to the court about whether the indictment "arose from" the SC investigation.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
The SC's arguments are "absolutely erroneous." pic.twitter.com/3SOmHICbJY
This statement by the SC proves that Rosenstein has hid the true scope of the Mueller probe - and how it has expanded/shifted - from the public. pic.twitter.com/nKdV2g3z4i— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
And here we go: Judge Ellis gets after the SC for trying to have it both ways.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
The result - "Come on, man" pic.twitter.com/kz4X3JMfuv
Important. Judge Ellis explains the Mueller's end game:— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
"You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever. That's what you're really interested in." pic.twitter.com/bAlGuxOZBV
After going through all that, they get back to the real issue: Are the Rosenstein memos from May 2017 and August 2017 sufficient to confer jurisdiction to the Special Counsel? pic.twitter.com/iw3vB5PNRi— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Judge Ellis contemplating why the Manafort case couldn't be sent to the EDVA USAO office by referencing the Michael Cohen case:— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
"Wasn't there a matter in NY recently that the special counsel returned to the Southern District of New York?" pic.twitter.com/1QjGAheJvu
Judge Ellis poses a question (a Q to which he will later provided an answer), asking why the Cohen was referred to the SDNY.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Special Counsel "not at liberty" to answer that question.... pic.twitter.com/2JEnUvk9P6
However, the Judge has his own theory:— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Did the SC farm out the Cohen case because it wasn't within the SC's jurisidction, or....
Did it have SDNY handle the Cohen case because they "can't use this to further [the Special Counsel's] core effort, which is to get to Trump" pic.twitter.com/ttv7L5UjZh
The SC's explanation as to why the Cohen case is different from the Manafort case isn't convincing. pic.twitter.com/mmmtZfRX4f— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Judge Ellis then tells the SC that the indictment does not mention:— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
(1) Russian individuals
(2) Russian banks
(3) Russian money
(4) Russian payments to Manafort
The SC concedes that fact. pic.twitter.com/BjH2aOF6Lq
The hearing closed with a request from Manafort's lawyer that internal DOJ memos regarding the appointment and scope of the Special Counsel's authority/jurisdiction be produced.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 5, 2018
Apparently, rat-faced Rosenstein loves memos.
The judge took that under advisement. pic.twitter.com/SCfmTjZ2fX