Well, well, well…. they say timing is everything.
Today U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III appears to have caught on to an explosive issue CTH noted yesterday. In building the case against Paul Manafort, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team used the pre-existing FISA Title-1 warrant that was originally applied to U.S. person Carter Page and the Trump campaign.
Under normal criminal investigation any search warrant or surveillance warrant would normally proceed through U.S. courts, under Title-3, where the Mueller team would need to show probable cause for a warrant. However, by using the Title-1 warrant from the FBI counterintelligence operation, as extended by AAG Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller was able to use far more intrusive and unchecked searches and seizures for his criminal probe.
The media, and broad media-consumption public, are currently unaware the Mueller probe was simply a continuance of the 2016 FBI counterintelligence operation. Most people think the special counsel investigation is a separate issue. It’s not.
However, in addition to a scathing rebuke of the underlying prosecutorial premise, ie. Mueller trying to keep the originating structure hidden, Judge Ellis demanded today that Mueller unredact the August 2, 2017, instructions from AAG Rosenstein. That removal will expose the use of the FISA Title-1 warrant use that drove the investigative origin.
WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Friday harshly rebuked Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team during a hearing for ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort – suggesting they lied about the scope of the investigation, are seeking “unfettered power” and are more interested in bringing down the president.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III told Mueller’s team. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”
Further, Ellis demanded to see the unredacted “scope memo,” a document outlining the scope of the special counsel’s Russia probe that congressional Republicans have also sought. […] The Reagan-appointed judge asked Mueller’s team where they got the authority to indict Manafort on alleged crimes dating as far back as 2005.
The special counsel argues that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted them broad authority in his May 2, 2017 letter appointing Mueller to this investigation. But after the revelation that the team is using information from the earlier DOJ probe, Ellis said that information did not “arise” out of the special counsel probe – and therefore may not be within the scope of that investigation.
“We don’t want anyone with unfettered power,” he said.
Mueller’s team says its authorities are laid out in documents including the August 2017 scope memo – and that some powers are actually secret because they involve ongoing investigations and national security matters that cannot be publicly disclosed.
Ellis seemed amused and not persuaded.
He summed up the argument of the Special Counsel’s Office as, “We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it and we were lying.”
He referenced the common exclamation from NFL announcers, saying: “C’mon man!” (read more)
The Mueller team saying: “some powers are actually secret” is a direct reference to their use of the FISA Title-1 warrant, which they took over from the FBI counterintelligence operation and applied to their criminal investigation.
With the third 90-day extension of the FISA warrant, issued by AAG Rod Rosenstein (July 18, 2017), Mueller’s team were obviously using the FISA warrant from May through October of last year. [The FISA warrant expired 90 days from July 18.]
♦ Michael Caputo discusses the scope of the Mueller Evidence – HERE
♦ The timeline of Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller – Available HERE