Trump-Appointed Judge Upholds Mueller’s Authority

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19:   Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee June 19, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Mueller confirmed that the FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance during the hearing on FBI oversight.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee June 19, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Mueller conf... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee June 19, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Mueller confirmed that the FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance during the hearing on FBI oversight. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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August 13, 2018 9:40 a.m.

Yet another federal judge on Monday issued an opinion upholding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s authority — this one, for the first time, coming from a judge appointed by President Donald Trump, who has dubbed Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt.”

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich denied the request by a Russian firm, accused of funding the Russian social media troll effort, to throw out Mueller’s case against it.

Her opinion said that the Supreme Court and D.C. Appeals Court had made clear that that the acting attorney general had the authority to appoint a special counsel.

“The appointment does not violate core separation-of-powers principles. Nor has the Special Counsel exceeded his authority under the appointment order by investigating and prosecuting Concord,” she said, referring to the Russian company that sought for the charges to be dismissed on the basis that Mueller lacked the authority.

Concord Management is one of three companies, alongside 13 Russian individuals, named in an indictment handed down by a grand jury in February that said they were involved in the effort to influence the election with trolls on social media.

Concord Management is the firm of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a restauranteur so close to the Kremlin he’s been nicknamed “Putin’s chef.” It was somewhat of a surprise when the firm hired American lawyers and began fighting the charges.

Friedrich’s opinion referenced the orders upholding Mueller’s authority by U.S. District Judges Amy Berman Jackson and T.S. Ellis — the judges overseeing Mueller’s cases against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in D.C. and Virginia, respectively. She also mentioned the recent decision by Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge on Friedrich’s federal court in D.C., favoring Mueller in a request by Andrew Miller, a former aide to Trump ally Roger Stone, to throw out Mueller’s grand jury subpoena of him.

Read Friedrich’s full 41-page opinion below:

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