Trump Rails Against Perceived Bias in Mueller Probe

WASHINGTON (CN) – In an early Monday Twitter tirade, President Donald Trump accused the investigators working under special counsel Robert Mueller of harboring secret conflicts of interest.

“The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice…and just wait ’till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!” the president tweeted.

Though Trump did not otherwise elaborate on the claim, the Washington Post reported back in March that 13 of the 17 lawyers on Mueller’s team were registered Democrats. The other four either had no affiliation or their affiliation could not be pinned down.

Two days earlier, Mueller lost his bid to delay the May 9 arraignment of a Russian entity he has accused of funding troll farms that flooded social media with fake accounts and disinformation ahead of the election.

Concord Management and Consulting LLC is one of three Russian companies that were indicted this past February alongside 13 Russian citizens as part of Mueller’s investigation.

In his bid to delay Concord’s arraignment, Mueller told the court Friday that attorneys for Concord failed to clarify if they could accept a summons on behalf of Concord.

Eric Dubelier, an attorney for Concord with Reed Smith, argued in an opposition brief late Saturday morning meanwhile that “the special counsel is not entitled to special rules.”

“The Special Counsel’s motion, filed late on a Friday afternoon, essentially seeks to usurp the scheduling authority of the Court by requesting a continuance of a proceeding scheduled in five days knowing that Defendant is ordinarily entitled to fourteen days to respond,” the 4-page brief says.

Dubelier pointed the blame at Mueller’s team for the summons being improperly served, saying they ignored federal criminal rules of procedure in serving the summons.

“Therefore it is the Special Counsel’s own fault that the summons was not properly served,” the brief says.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich denied the government’s motion Saturday evening but did not include an explanation. The arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Meanwhile in Virginia, Mueller’s team faced tough questions Friday by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who is presiding over the tax and bank fraud charges brought against the president’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

The charges relate to work he did on behalf of a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine and former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych.

Ellis, a Reagan appointee, ordered Mueller’s team within two weeks to turn over unredacted versions of memos penned by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which outline the scope of Mueller’s probe.

According to an April 2 court filing in Washington, the memos authorize Mueller to investigate Manafort for possible coordination with Russia, while the special counsel appointment order gives Mueller the authority to look into crimes arising from the Russia probe.

Manafort is also facing money-laundering charges in Washington, along with making false statements and failing to register as a foreign agent for the work he did in Ukraine. None of the charges against him in either venue relate to the 2016 presidential election. Because of that, Manafort has asked for both sets of charges to be dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing Manafort’s criminal case in Washington, dismissed his civil challenge to the scope of Mueller’s authority on April 27. Manafort had asked the court to declare invalid the portion of the appointment order authorizing Mueller to pursue “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

President Trump also took aim at the investigation’s credibility on Twitter Monday morning as well. Citing a finding by the House Intelligence Committee that it found no collusion or coordination with Russia, Trump accused Mueller’s team of making up a “phony crime” of obstruction.

“So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime. There is no O, it’s called Fighting Back,” Trump tweeted.

According to a June 14 Washington Post report, Mueller’s team widened its investigation to examine whether Trump tried to obstruct justice after the president fired former FBI Director James Comey on May 9 last year.

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