But that gets back to one of the original sins of the prosecution of Manafort - It was beyond the scope of Mueller's authority when the investigation started and the raid on Manafort's home took place. Ellis went on to say that defense lawyers are naturally concerned that defendants in that situation will not only sing but "compose" - meaning that they'll make up facts. "You really care about what information he might give you about Mr. Trump and what might lead to his impeachment or prosecution".
Although Mueller's authority has been tested in court before, Friday's hearing was notable for District Judge T.S. Ellis' decision to wade into the divisive political debate around the investigation.
"We said this is what the investigation was about but we are not bound by it and we were lying".
Mueller's team says its authorities are laid out in documents including the August 2017 scope memo - and that some powers are secret because they involve ongoing investigations and national security matters that can not be publicly disclosed.
President Trump treats CNN like his mortal enemy.
Trump commented on Ellis' rebuke in a speech Friday afternoon at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Dallas. He called Ellis "a very respected person".
Ellis repeated his suspicion several times in the hour-long court hearing.
Manafort has argued that Rosenstein improperly gave Mueller a "blank check" to investigate the Trump campaign.
Ellis said prosecutors may present the full classified memo to him under seal - without showing Manafort its additional details - in two weeks. "At the end of the day, it's very risky to read the tea leaves from comments from the bench".
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If Ellis dismissed the charges, they would likely be reinstated by an appeals court, Griffin said.
"I'll be the judge of that", Ellis said. "That is not uncommon".
Manafort's charges in Virginia relate to bank fraud and other financial allegations from years ago. In motions filed in March, Manafort's attorneys claimed Mueller's charges had gone well outside what the Justice Department had tasked him to probe almost ago.
He also asked for dismissal of the Washington-based criminal charges on similar legal grounds, but there has not been a ruling.
After Dreeben used three attempts to argue the government's case against dismissing the indictment, Ellis, who admitted he "is not a fan of football", used a phrase popular on the sports channel ESPN.
He made the request for 70 blank subpoenas in the Eastern District of Virginia case on Thursday, according to a court filing.
Downing said he would also like a copy of any written records justifying Mueller's appointment as special counsel.
Dreeben declined to discuss the Cohen case.
Ellis complained that the bulk of that August memo he has received was highly redacted.
Prosecutors told Judge Ellis their instructions from Mr. Rosenstein are not just in the memos he seeks, but said some are secret and should not be available for public scrutiny because of ongoing investigations and national security concerns.
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