Mueller wins a big victory as the court dismisses the challenge of his appointment



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Robert Mueller

This decision is the fifth decision of the Federal Court in recent months to confirm the authority of the special advocate Robert Mueller. | Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Legal

By JOSH GERSTEIN

Special advocate Robert Mueller won Tuesday one of the biggest legal victories of his term, a federal court of appeal dismissing charges that his appointment was unconstitutional.

In a unanimous decision, a panel of three judges of the Court of Appeal of the Circuit of the Court of Cassation dismissed the arguments that Mueller enjoyed a power such as a special prosecutor that he should have been appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

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The judges of the Court of Appeal also found no anomaly in the appointment of Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein following the challenge of Jeff Sessions, Attorney General at the time. The court stated that since the Attorney General can repeal Mueller's appointment by-law at any time, it remains under the control of a Cabinet representative.

"The Mueller Special Council actually serves the convenience of an Executive Officer who was appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate," wrote Judge Judith Rogers, joined by Judges Sri Srinivasan and Karen. Henderson.

Mueller's office declined to comment on the decision.

The challenge of D.C. Circuit was introduced by Andrew Miller, a partner of Trump's former advisor, Roger Stone, who was charged in January for tampering with witnesses and lied to congressional investigators.

Last year, Mueller's office asked Miller to appear before a federal grand jury in Washington to investigate Russian cases, but Miller decided to quash the subpoena citing alleged flaws in Mueller's appointment. . Miller's challenge was backed by conservatives looking for a way to aggravate the legal attack on Mueller's office.

In addition to arguing that Mueller 's appointment was flawed because it had not been upheld by the Senate, Miller' s attorney, Paul Kamenar, argued that He had no authority to make this appointment, because only the head of the then Department of Justice – Sessions – could do it. so.

Prior to the decision, Kamenar had said he expected a defeat in front of the DC circuit and was eager to bring the case to the Supreme Court.

Miller was working as Stone's assistant, who began saying last spring that he was preparing for an indictment by Mueller's attorneys.

Stone had initially indicated that he was expecting charges to relate to his business dealings or fiscal problems. However, the indictment released last month showed that prosecutors were looking to find out if he had prior knowledge of WikiLeaks publishing stolen emails from the president's personal email account. the Clinton campaign, John Podesta.

Stone denied any contact with WikiLeaks 'founder, Julian Assange, nor any privileged information about WikiLeaks' projects, despite an August 2016 tweet in which Stone had predicted that it would soon be "Podesta's time in the barrel." ".

For a while, it appeared that prosecutors were perhaps waiting for a decision on Miller's protests before going to Stone's charge, but they eventually laid charges without Miller's testimony.

However, in an interview with POLITICO, Stone said Miller's tasks for him were so minimal that the trap of obtaining his testimony would not have hindered Mueller's investigators.

"I can not imagine," Stone said. "Andrew Miller is a house painter. He did not work for me in '15 and '16. He came to the convention mainly to make sure I get up in the morning after staying out too late at night.

The DC Circuit's decision is the fifth decision of the Federal Court in recent months to confirm Mueller's authority.

Chief Justice Beryl Howell of the US District Court in Washington rejected Miller's arguments last year, although she wrote that her lawyer raised "legitimate issues".

US District Court judges Amy Berman Jackson in Washington and T. Ellis III in Alexandria, Va., Also dismissed Mueller in criminal proceedings against former Trump campaign president Paul Manafort.

And another Washington-based jurist, Judge Dabney Friedrich, refuted a similar legal attack against Mueller organized by a Russian company that the special council had accused of attempting to usurp identity, fake media accounts social and other misleading tactics to interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump.

The firm, Concord Management and Consulting, endorsed Miller's appeal and argued against Mueller at the November circuit session at which Judge Kamenar pleaded Miller's case.

Manafort eventually chose to plead guilty and waive most of his rights to appeal.

If Concord is still found guilty, Concord still has the right to appeal, but as criminal appeals must wait until the end of the trial and the sentence handed down, Miller's challenge against the summons Appearing before the grand jury is a more appealing way for the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

The debate that was decided Tuesday by the DC circuit panel is distinct from the fight against another grand jury that recently went to the Supreme Court and also concerns Mueller. In the other showdown, a foreign government company claimed that it should not have to comply with a summons to appear before a grand jury.

Another DC circuit board rejected the company's arguments. Chief Justice John Roberts briefly suspended the fine of $ 50,000 a day imposed on the company, but the Supreme Court finally dismissed the company's request for urgent assistance. The identity of the company and the foreign nation involved remains a mystery, but the court reports released in recent weeks confirm a report from POLITICO last year that the prosecutors involved appeared to be part of the team. Mueller.

Rogers, the author of the opinion defending the authority of Mueller, is appointed by President Bill Clinton. Henderson was appointed by President George W. Bush. Srinivasan is appointed by President Barack Obama.

Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report.

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