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Justice Department says Mueller probe lawful

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 The U.S. Justice Department has backed Special Counsel Robert Mueller over a lawsuit filed against him by Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, and argued that the case should be dismissed.

Manafort sued Mueller on Jan. 3, saying his office’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election exceeded its legal authority.

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The civil lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, of exceeding his legal authority to “grant Mr. Mueller carte blanche to investigate and pursue criminal charges in connection with anything he stumbles across.”

“These claims lack merit,” a Justice Department filing to the court on Friday said. “The Special Counsel’s investigation and prosecutions are entirely lawful.”

The department said the case should be dismissed.

Mueller’s office indicted Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates in October on charges including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the United States and failing to register as foreign agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.

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Trump and his Republican allies in Congress on Friday escalated a campaign against U.S. law enforcement agencies over their probe of the president’s ties to Russia, releasing a disputed memo that the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned was misleading and inaccurate.

Democrats said the four-page memo mischaracterized highly sensitive classified information and was intended to undermine Mueller’s criminal probe into the Russia matter launched in May 2017 that grew out of an earlier FBI investigation. They warned Trump against using it as a pretext to fire Rosenstein or Mueller himself.

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(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Nathan Layne and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Oklahoma police searching for man who shot Taco Bell employee in dispute over the drive-thru

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Police are searching for a man who allegedly shot a Taco Bell employee early Saturday morning.

"The employee was shot in the leg after asking the customer to pull forward in the drive-thru," KFOR-TV reported Saturday. "The customer argued, but eventually pulled forward, and that’s when he pulled out a gun and shot the employee."

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NRA busted for spending tens of thousands on hair stylists and make-up for Wayne LaPierre’s wife

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As part of their investigative series on the finances of the embattled National Rifle Association, the Daily Beast is now reporting that the guns rights organization has been paying thousands of dollars to pamper the wife of CEO Chief Executive and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

According to the Beast, "The NRA spent tens of thousands of dollars bringing hair and makeup artists around the country for the wife of its CEO," which also included, "plane flights and luxury hotel stays for the stylists."

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Trump pressured to drop background checks by ‘gun expert’ Don Jr. despite Fox News poll

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President Trump’s advisers are urging him to back off his support for expanded background checks out of fear that it would alienate gun groups like the NRA, even as a new Fox News poll showed the group with a net negative rating for the first time ever.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Trump called for Congress to pass “strong background checks” after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, just as he did last year after the Parkland school shooting before backing down to pressure from the NRA and backing a proposal to arm teachers with guns instead.

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