May 16, 2018

You can't fault Paul Manafort's lawyers for trying this tactic: that somehow looking at Paul Manafort's finances isn't at all related to the Trump Russia investigation so how dare Mueller even glance at the bank statements? Witch hunt!

And of course the judge in the case went, um, duh, he's got four passports and money all over Ukraine funneled through Cyprus and a history with Russian sponsored politicians so yeah it's worth a look and Mueller wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't.

The full decision is here, courtesy of Politico.

And the money quotes?

The indictment falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel that Manafort finds unobjectionable: the order to investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign.

Manafort was, at one time, not merely ‘associated with,’ but the chairman of, the Presidential campaign, and his work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record. It was logical and appropriate for investigators tasked with the investigation of ‘any links’ between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign to direct their attention to him.

Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest,“ she wrote. “Given what was being said publicly, the Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

As Rachel Maddow said last night, the judge didn't just say no to Manafort, she said no with ten exclamation points.

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