In other bad news for Der Trumpenführer, who continues to bleat that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is a "witch hunt" and that there was "no collusion with Russia," a federal court refused to dismiss criminal charges against Trump's main Russia contact, Paul Manafort. Indeed, the judge found the investigation of Manafort to be within the scope of Mueller's investigation and that Manafort was a natural person of interest given his lengthy and slimy relations with Kremlin backed figures. The court's refusal to dismiss the case will increase the pressure on Manafort to strike a deal and go state's evidence against Trump and others in the campaign - let's hope Pence is included - who sought to coordinate with the Putin backed interference in the 2016 presidential election. Here are highlights from CNN:
Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Tuesday rejected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's attempt to invalidate the criminal case against him in Washington.Manafort had claimed special counsel Robert Mueller's appointment order was too broad, and thus his investigation had overstepped its legal authority.
But Berman Jackson concluded for several reasons that Mueller's investigation and prosecution of Manafort is legal -- and that the special counsel still can maintain some independence while working within the Department of Justice.
"It bears emphasizing at this stage that Manafort is presumed to be innocent of these charges, and it will be the prosecution's burden to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But the indictment will not be dismissed, and the matter will proceed to trial," Berman Jackson wrote in her opinion Tuesday.
She added that it was appropriate for federal investigators to look into Manafort's business connections in Russia and Ukraine while Mueller's office investigated possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
"Who had connections to the Russian government? Who attended meetings on behalf of the campaign?" Berman Jackson wrote. "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."
"The Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government," she wrote later in the opinion.
Manafort is scheduled for trial in DC in September. . . . Berman Jackson previously dismissed a civil lawsuit Manafort had attempted to use to undercut Mueller's authority.