Judge: Rosenstein empowered Mueller to probe even ‘indirect’ or ‘potential’ Russian ties

by WorldTribune Staff, July 2, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller was granted wide latitude by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to pursue any alleged contact between Russia and the Trump campaign not matter how “stale” it is, a judge said.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. / Getty Images

District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, who is presiding over Mueller’s case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, said Rosenstein’s guidelines state that Mueller can investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

Citing Supreme Court rulings, Ellis said “any links” also means “indirect links” or “potential links.”

Security correspondent Rowan Scarborough, writing for The Washington Times on July 1, gave as an example, the case of former Navy SEAL Erik Prince.

Prince “who made a fortune providing private security contractors to governments and corporations,” is being investigated by Mueller over a post-election conversation he had with a Russian hedge fund manager in a Seychelles resort, Scarborough noted.

Prince, also an informal adviser to the Trump campaign, told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the get-together was impromptu in a hotel bar. The Washington Post reported that the meeting may have been planned.

“Whichever is true, the Prince case shows how the Rosenstein mandate works: If a person met a Russian and had ties to the Trump campaign, Mueller can investigate him,” Scarborough wrote.

J.D. Gordon, a Trump campaign adviser, said the expansive definition of a “link” is why so many persons of interest in Mueller’s probe are speaking with the FBI.

“In a politically toxic environment like today, the higher you go, the more likely the opposition will push for your investigation,” Gordon told The Washington Times. “If and when they manage to haul you before a judge, your fate is basically a roll of the dice based upon the actions of FBI leadership during the Obama administration. The Trump-Russia probes are tyrannical by definition.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, told Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week, “Whatever you got, finish it the hell up.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has supported the investigation, told the Washington Examiner, “What I think about the Mueller investigation is, they ought to wrap it up. It’s gone on seemingly forever, and I don’t know how much more they think they can find out.”

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