"At a tense hearing in a federal court in Virginia on Friday, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III sharply questioned whether Mueller exceeded his authority in filing tax and bank fraud charges against Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
Ellis said the indictment appeared to be a way for Mueller to leverage Manafort into providing information about Trump.
“The vernacular is to sing,” he said.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” the judge said. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead to Mr. Trump” and his eventual prosecution or impeachment.
“It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unfettered power to do whatever he wants,” Ellis, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, said at a hearing on Manafort’s motion to dismiss the Virginia charges.
Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign manager for five months, also faces federal charges in Washington, where he is accused of conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent when he lobbied for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government." Reuters
1. The three branches of the US federal government are co-equal. Federal Article 3 judges are appointed for life subject to impeachment for malfeasance (bribery, etc.) The courts are not part of the Justice Department.
2. Ellis is 77 years old and semi-retired. He has no prospects for elevation to a higher court.
3. He has a local reputation as an old school Virginian: Princeton, five years as a naval aviator, Harvard Law, Magdalen College, Oxford for more law. He was a successful Richmond, Virginia lawyer before appointment to the federal bench.
4. The left media is trying to minimize the importance of what Ellis did yesterday saying that Ellis is merely a district judge. Well, pilgrims, they did not say that when a mere district judge in Hawaii blocked Trump's travel ban.
5. I am not a lawyer but from what I know of Ellis, it is my opinion that he might throw out Manafort's indictment if he is not given the un-redacted scope document that he has demanded.
6. A ruling of Contempt directed at the prosecutors would not be out of the question in that case.
7. A statement by Ellis in the record somewhere to the effect that he believes Moeller to be conducting an invalid investigation would be most damaging to Moeller and the Democrat side. pl