The lawsuit asks the court to overturn Mueller's appointment, and declare the order "invalid", "arbitrary and capricious", and an "abuse of discretion".
According to former Justice Department official Jimmy Gurule, who served under President George H.W. Bush, the lawsuit has little chance of success but could be a way to force Mueller to reveal the scope of the investigation.
Mueller impaneled the grand jury in August, enabling him to require testimonies from witnesses under oath and to subpoena documents. The special counsel can be fired by the attorney general personally for "misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies".
"What Manafort is clearly trying to do here is shut off one of the avenues from Mueller to get into Trump's money, particularly as connected with Russians", Johnston said. The prosecutor oversaw an aggressive Federal Bureau of Investigation pre-dawn raid on Mr. Manafort's Alexandria condo.
The lawsuit argues the issues related to the indictment are irrelevant to Mueller's investigation and therefore charges should be rescinded. They say the Justice Department reviewed Mr. Manafort's finances for years and never brought charges until Mr. Mueller put together his team of prosecutors.
Rosenstein has been publicly supportive of the special counsel's work. Manafort claims that the Appointment Order that put Mueller in place was supposed to limit Mueller's authority to the Russian Federation investigation, yet it ended up giving him authority over "any matters that arose or may arise directly from" the Russian Federation probe.
Manafort, who was charged in October along with former campaign aide Rick Gates, is asking the court to effectively nullify the charges against him - and stop Mueller's investigation from ranging beyond matters directly related to Russia's interference.
Not only does Manafort have a problem with his own indictment, he's against the entire Russian Federation investigation.
They do not relate to Mr Trump's campaign but to the alleged concealment of payments from the pair's Ukrainian business dealings up to 2016. During the interview, Mr. Manafort provided a detailed explanation of his activities in Ukraine, including his frequent contact with a number of previous U.S. Ambassadors in Kiev and his efforts to further U.S. objectives in Ukraine on their behalf.
Mr. Mueller won the cooperation of Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, for instance, after investigating him for unregistered foreign lobbying and lying to the F.B.I. on matters unrelated to the election.
Instead, the executive branch - that is, the president - enacted a regulation that enables the attorney general to appoint a special counsel like Mueller.
Manafort's lawyers couldn't plausibly argue that the executive branch had no authority to create the special counsel. Manafort's indictment includes actions he took from 2006 to 2014.
In October, a federal grand jury approved an indictment against Manafort and his associate Rick Gates, marking the first charges to come out of the probe into possible collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation. None of this went over well with Mueller, whose team has insisted that the political operative remains a flight risk and must continue wearing an ankle monitor.
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