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Ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort seeks to dismiss Virginia charges

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, on Tuesday asked a federal judge in Virginia to dismiss an indictment brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying the case falls outside the scope of Mueller’s authority and is unrelated to Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Tuesday’s motion to dismiss was similar to one filed this month in another federal court in Washington, where Manafort is facing a separate but related indictment also brought by Mueller.

 In the Virginia case, which is scheduled to go to trial on July 10, Manafort is facing charges including bank fraud and filing false tax returns.
In the Washington, D.C. case, which has a September trial date, he is accused of conspiring against the United States, conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent when he lobbied for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government.

None of the charges against him pertain to the 2016 presidential election or Russian interference.

Although Mueller is tasked with investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia – something Trump has denied – Mueller is also permitted to probe other matters that arise during the course of his investigation.

In Tuesday’s filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Manafort’s lawyers said the charges against their client should be dropped because they were not a direct result of Mueller’s probe.

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Rather, they said, the FBI already previously looked into the same underlying facts in 2014 before deciding not to pursue criminal charges.

In addition, they argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein exceeded his authority under Justice Department regulations when he drafted his order to appoint Mueller in May 2017 and that it gives Mueller too broad of an investigative mandate.

Manafort earlier this year also filed a civil lawsuit against the Justice Department, Mueller and Rosenstein making some of the same arguments and asking to have the indictment dropped.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the District of Columbia will hear arguments in the civil case at a hearing scheduled for April 4.

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The two separate indictments against Manafort are seen as unusual. Normally such charges would be consolidated in one court, but Manafort has refused to allow this, which might be a legal tactic meant to make Mueller’s case more difficult.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Fox News host’s insane anti-LGBT screed: Activists are trying to make kids transgender by ‘eliminating gays’

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Fox News host Greg Gutfeld went on a lengthy deep-dive into what he claims are the motivations of LGBT activists, falsely accusing them of trying to increase the number of transgender children by "eliminating gays."

There is exactly zero truth to Gutfeld's claims, which he made on Fox News' "The Five" on Monday, as Media Maters reports.

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Hope Hicks denied under oath knowing about Trump’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels

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Former White House communications director Hope Hicks on Wednesday denied under oath knowing anything about the hush-money scheme set up by former Trump "fixer" Michael Cohen to pay off President Donald Trump's former mistresses.

"Hicks told lawmakers today that she did not have knowledge during 2016 campaign of hush-money payments made in run-up to election," reports CNN's Manu Raju. "Also she wouldn’t discuss what she learned about those payments during her time at White House because of immunity claims."

Hicks told lawmakers today that she did not have knowledge during 2016 campaign of hush-money payments made in run-up to election, per sources. Also she wouldn’t discuss what she learned about those payments during her time at WH bc of immunity claims https://t.co/GZWqzCzpGX

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Federal Reserve chair defiant in face of Trump threats: ‘The law is clear — I have a four-year term’

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sounded a defiant note on Wednesday as he announced that there would be no further cuts to interest rates for the time being.

Even though President Donald Trump has been publicly calling for a rate cut to spur additional economic growth ahead of his reelection campaign, Powell kept interest rates at their current level and signaled that he did not foresee any interest rate cuts for the rest of the year.

Powell was asked by a reporter if he was concerned about being "demoted" by Trump in the wake of this announcement, the Federal Reserve Chairman said he wasn't worried.

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