By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office notified a federal court in Virginia on Thursday it had filed under seal an unredacted memorandum that is expected to shed light on the scope of his wide-ranging probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
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.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)