Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

USA judge allows Mueller case against Russian company to proceed

Cuomo presses lawyer on Mueller legitimacy Trump-Appointed Judge Upholds Mueller's Authority – Talking Points Memo
Deanna Wagner | 16 August, 2018, 11:23

The BIG headline out of CNN's new national poll probing how Americans feel about President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing Russian Federation investigation is that a large majority want Mueller to wrap things up before this November's midterm elections.

The ruling came in a challenge brought by a Russian firm accused of funding an Internet trolling operation that targeted USA voters in 2016.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller got some more judicial support, when a federal judge shot down a challenge to his authority in the criminal case against Russian companies accused of orchestrating operations meant to interfere with the 2016 election.

Concord has pleaded innocent to charges that it conspired to obstruct the 2016 USA election by funding a coordinated social media propaganda campaign run by Russia's Internet Research Agency.

Concord Management's main argument against Mueller's appointment centered on the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, claiming that Mueller was not nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, nor was he appointed via Congressional approval. The campaign aimed to push voters toward Trump and away from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, U.S. authorities said.

"The special counsel is an inferior officer because he is directed and supervised by the acting attorney general", Friedrich wrote in her decision, referring to Rosenstein.

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Of those questioned, 70% believe the president should testify before Mueller, while the former FBI director has enjoyed a sizable bump in the polls, with 47% now saying they approve of his handling of the Russian Federation investigation, up from 41% in June. That witness, Andrew Miller, has been held in contempt of the court and now may appeal.

A third judge, 1987 Reagan appointee U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria, who is overseeing the tax and bank fraud trial of Paul Manafort, former Trump presidential campaign chairman, was not asked to rule directly on the constitutional question, but noted in a separate opinion in Manafort's case that "such an objection would likely fail".

Mueller III, left, in June 2013 in Washington; and President Trump on December 15, 2017, also in Washington.

Majorities in both parties want special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE to conclude his investigation into attempted Russian election interference before the midterm elections in November, according to a CNN poll.

"None of these questions are easy".