Trump: Russia probe is a hoax

President Donald Trump downplayed speculation he's moving to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Palm Beach, Florida.

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 4:57 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 4:57 PM

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed with special counsel Robert Mueller what prosecutors should pursue in the Russia probe as early as last May, when Mueller was first appointed, the special counsel's office said Thursday.

At a court hearing, Justice Department attorney Michael Dreeben said Rosenstein discussed specific legs of the investigation with Mueller months before he wrote a classified memo in August that outlined Mueller's directive.

Dreeben argued that the Justice Department shouldn't have to produce documentation of those early talks about the investigation's scope that occurred before Rosenstein's August 2 memo. Rosenstein has been overseeing Mueller's investigation following the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

While Rosenstein and Mueller's communication about the Russia probe may help the special counsel's office defend its criminal case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Mueller's team is also indirectly pushing back against the President and Republicans' assertions that the investigation is rogue and corrupt.

"We have an alive and awake acting attorney general who's looking at this investigation, [and] knows what's going on," Dreeben said.

Manafort has alleged in court that Mueller's office overstepped its authority by charging him with crimes related to his work before the 2016 campaign. His attorney also demanded they see records of Rosenstein and Mueller's discussions before August.

"We're all sitting here guessing what happened. There has to be a record," Manafort's attorney, Kevin Downing, said Thursday.

Mueller's appointment unfolded in May with a public notice from Rosenstein, directing the special counsel to investigate links between the Russian government and the campaign and other matters that arose from the investigation. The August memo, which was unveiled earlier this month and gets into more specifics, was "reflective of decisions that had already been made," Dreeben said.

Rosenstein's August 2 memo gives Mueller the green light to investigate Manafort for his lobbying work in Ukraine, years before the campaign. It also outlines several other still-undisclosed allegations that Mueller could investigate and says Mueller could look into allegations that Manafort colluded with Russians during the campaign. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the foreign lobbying and financial charges. He has not been charged with crimes related to Russian collusion.

Downing said, "We're in a worse place than we were with" previous special investigations that appeared to wander outside their initial purposes.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, countered that it's unlikely the Justice Department fully knew what Mueller should pursue when he was first appointed.

"As good as he is, I don't think the deputy attorney general could see into the future," she said.

Investigators shouldn't have to "start with the conclusion" that crimes were committed, she added. Instead, prosecutors could follow the question of whether Manafort had links to Russians. That work, even if it didn't connect directly to Manafort's time on the campaign, would be essential to any criminal investigation, she said, and Dreeben later echoed her.

Manafort is also challenging the special counsel's office's decision to charge him with both lying to federal authorities and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist and the decision to charge him with a conspiracy money laundering count because of his failure to register his work with federal authorities. Mueller's prosecutors have pushed back on both arguments on technical legal grounds. If Manafort were to convince the judge to dismiss the money laundering allegation, assets that the government locked down following his indictment in October would become available to him.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 593622

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1228171731
Ramsey51446875
Dakota45976452
Anoka41782439
Washington26948283
Stearns22266222
St. Louis17787304
Scott17296124
Wright16082140
Olmsted1325598
Sherburne1173087
Carver1050745
Clay816392
Rice8063107
Blue Earth751541
Crow Wing666290
Kandiyohi656283
Chisago601351
Otter Tail575478
Benton571697
Goodhue478572
Douglas468575
Mower466232
Winona455050
Itasca439156
McLeod424559
Isanti422464
Morrison419660
Nobles408048
Beltrami397059
Steele388715
Polk384868
Becker380953
Lyon361051
Carlton345654
Freeborn342029
Pine329022
Nicollet326243
Brown305440
Mille Lacs305053
Le Sueur292423
Todd282432
Cass273428
Meeker256640
Waseca236322
Martin230732
Roseau209419
Wabasha20613
Hubbard190041
Dodge18513
Renville180343
Redwood174337
Houston171916
Cottonwood165823
Fillmore156510
Wadena155922
Pennington153719
Faribault152419
Chippewa152338
Kanabec144726
Sibley143810
Aitkin135036
Watonwan13289
Rock128319
Jackson121812
Pipestone115926
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11056
Murray10639
Swift105618
Stevens91411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86916
Koochiching83615
Wilkin81612
Lake81120
Lac qui Parle75322
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5788
Mahnomen5539
Norman5399
Unassigned49293
Kittson48622
Red Lake3977
Traverse3705
Lake of the Woods3253
Cook1640

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 367236

Reported Deaths: 5940
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57666626
Linn20892335
Scott20060241
Black Hawk15824308
Woodbury15138228
Johnson1449183
Dubuque13380208
Dallas1118398
Pottawattamie11132168
Story1062348
Warren577988
Clinton555893
Cerro Gordo540689
Sioux514474
Webster512293
Marshall483075
Muscatine481399
Des Moines458066
Wapello4303122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419372
Plymouth401280
Lee376055
Marion362875
Jones299057
Henry291937
Carroll285752
Bremer284860
Crawford266240
Boone265034
Benton256655
Washington254050
Dickinson248543
Mahaska230451
Jackson222142
Clay215725
Kossuth215564
Tama209871
Delaware209741
Winneshiek196835
Page192722
Buchanan191432
Cedar190023
Hardin185643
Fayette185141
Wright184737
Hamilton180049
Harrison179673
Clayton169556
Butler165034
Madison162519
Mills162422
Floyd161142
Cherokee158938
Lyon158241
Poweshiek154934
Allamakee151451
Iowa148824
Hancock148434
Winnebago142531
Cass138654
Calhoun138513
Grundy136333
Emmet134240
Jefferson132435
Shelby131137
Sac130419
Union128333
Louisa128149
Appanoose128049
Mitchell126442
Chickasaw124116
Guthrie121530
Franklin120721
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112823
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100224
Unassigned9710
Keokuk96031
Monroe95329
Ida90435
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis83024
Monona82730
Osceola78716
Greene77710
Lucas77223
Worth7478
Taylor66012
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Ringgold55824
Van Buren55818
Wayne53923
Audubon51010
Adams3384
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