The federal judge who recently ripped into Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has obtained a copy of the so-called “scope memo” that lays out the parameters of the Russia probe.
A court document filed Thursday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia shows that prosecutors have turned over the memo, under seal, to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.
Judge Ellis made news during the May 4 hearing for harshly rebuking Mueller’s team, suggesting they are seeking “unfettered power” and are more interested in bringing down the president than prosecuting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” Ellis told Mueller’s team. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”
The filing, made as part of Mueller’s criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was requested by the judge, who told prosecutors earlier this month he wanted to see an unredacted copy of an August 2017 memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein which fleshed out Mueller’s investigative mandate.
In a court hearing two weeks ago in the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge T.S. Ellis told Mueller’s office to turn over a copy of the memo under seal to him by this Friday so he could review it before deciding whether or not to dismiss the charges against Manafort.
Manafort is facing two indictments by Mueller in Virginia and Washington that charge him with an array of crimes, from conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent, to bank and tax fraud.
He has sought to have both cases dismissed on the grounds that Mueller has exceeded his authority, and that Rosenstein granted the special counsel too much power when he was appointed exactly one year ago on Thursday.
The federal judge overseeing the Washington case earlier this week refused to dismiss the charges, saying Mueller has not overstepped his authority by prosecuting Manafort.
Ellis, however, insisted on seeing an unredacted copy of Rosenstein’s Aug. 2, 2017 memo before he can make a decision.