Special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday provided a federal judge in Virginia copy of an unredacted memo outlining the scope of his investigation into Russian collusion.
The three-page memo was filed as part of Mr. Mueller’s criminal case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. District Judge T.S. Ellis III had ordered the special counsel’s office to turn over the memo by Friday.
Mr. Mueller filed the document under seal and only Judge Ellis will be allowed to view it in the Alexandria courthouse, according to court documents. Mr. Manafort, his attorneys and the public will not be allowed to see the memo.
Judge Ellis said during a court hearing two weeks ago, that he wanted to review the scope of Mueller’s probe into Russian collusion during the 2016 election before deciding whether or not to dismiss the charges against Mr. Manafort.
Mr. Manafort was indicted in Virginia and D.C. on a litany of crimes, including tax fraud, bank fraud, conspiring to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent and making false statements. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.
All of the charges against Mr. Manafort were brought by the special counsel’s office as part of the Russia probe.
All of the charges were brought by the special counsel’s office Russia investigation.
A redacted version of August 2017 memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was made public in April through a filing in Mr. Manfort’s Washington case.
The August memo expands gives Mr. Mueller the authority to investigate allegations that Mr. Manafort “committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials” during the 2016 election. It also empowers the special counsel to probe whether Mr. Manafort “committed a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government.” Other areas of the memo have been redacted.
Judge Ellis blasted prosecutors with the special counsel’s office at a hearing earlier this month. He said they don’t care about the charges against Mr. Manafort but are really after information that could lead to President Trump’s “prosecution or impeachment or whatever.”
A political battle on Capitol Hill has also been waged over the August Rosenstein memo. A group of conservative House lawmakers known as the Freedom Caucus are demanding the Justice turn over the unredacted memo to Congress. The Justice Department has refused, leading to Freedom Caucus members to ask Mr. Trump to intervene and order Attorney General Jeff Sessions to hand it over.