Dems spar with Trump over Mueller probe, roast federal judge who questioned it

Dems spar with Trump over Mueller probe, roast federal judge who questioned it
Democrat representatives have gone on the offensive after the presiding judge in the Manafort investigation questioned the legitimacy of –and the motives behind– the Mueller probe into alleged Russian collusion.

At a hearing last Friday, US District Judge T.S. Ellis accused Robert Mueller's legal team of manipulating the investigation into Paul Manafort in order to potentially gain testimony which could be used to impeach US President Donald Trump. In his stinging attack, Judge Ellis accused the lawyers of "lying" and of seeking "unfettered power." Democrats were quick to respond to the judge's statements, labeling them "absurd," "inappropriate" and "unprofessional."

"It does concern me that the judge [is] questioning the motives of the special counsel," Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, a long-time proponent of the Russiagate theory, who has claimed that Trump had been “nastier to [him] than he has been to Putin.”

"While it’s certainly within the judge’s prerogative to ask these questions, I don’t think it really bears on the legal issues," Schiff continued. "And so I think that Bob Mueller will prevail, in the sense of being able to go forward with this litigation. I don’t think there is really any legal question about that. But yes, it is concerning that the judge would express this opinion."

Representative Gerald Connolly (D-Virginia) echoed Schiff’s sentiments, calling Judge Ellis’ remarks "outrageous," while asserting that it was improper for a judge to question the extent of a federal special prosecutor's power. "I don’t think any judge should be saying that kind of thing. Robert Mueller has impeccable credentials. He’s a Republican!" Connolly said, as cited by Grabien News.

"It is an absurd statement, it was inappropriate and unprofessional and that kind of language from the bench is simply not professional. What he did today, I think, was way overboard." Trump himself on Monday once again described the entire probe as a “witch hunt,” adding that it was bereft of any evidence, and going so far as to describe the alleged “obstruction” as a “phony, made up crime.”

READ MORE: Another leak, another ‘witch hunt!’: Trump brands Mueller questions stunt ‘disgraceful’

“The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. 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,” the president tweeted before following up with a jab at the “Angry Democrats” who, he says, make up the special counsel.

"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!" Trump added.

Representative Schiff was quick to fire back, alluding to Trump’s alleged "secret meetings with the Russians," among other pieces of evidence. Other Democrats also weighed in on Trump’s latest inflammatory rhetoric regarding the Mueller investigation, pointing out his perceived hypocrisy.  

Paul Manafort is an American lobbyist and political consultant who served as Donald Trump's presidential campaign manager from June to August 2016. He was under active investigation by multiple federal agencies including the CIA, the NSA, the FBI and the financial crimes unit of the US Treasury Department. The majority of his indictments are the result of his lobbying activities in the Ukraine as opposed to ties with Russia.

He was indicted as part of the Mueller investigation on charges of conspiracy against the US, conspiracy to launder money, failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts and making false statements, among other related charges. Trump has continually questioned the legitimacy of the Mueller probe since its inception, most recently on Monday morning.

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