ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday sharply criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case in Virginia against President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and openly questioned whether Mueller exceeded his prosecutorial powers by bringing it.
“I don’t see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in the Eastern District of Virginia said.
At a tense hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, the judge said Mueller should not have “unfettered power” in his Russia probe and that the charges against Manafort did not arise from the investigation into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
“It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unfettered power to do whatever he wants,” said Ellis, who was appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan.
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