Published: Tue, August 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Appointed Judge Becomes Fourth to Uphold Mueller's Authority to Prosecute Russia Investigation

Appointed Judge Becomes Fourth to Uphold Mueller's Authority to Prosecute Russia Investigation

Concord Management was among 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups accused of trying to influence the 2016 election.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., June 21, 2017.

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".

Concord had contended that Mueller's powers were so vast that he didn't qualify under the appointments clause as an "inferior officer" who could be appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. "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.

The company, among 13 Russians and three Kremlin firms indicted by prosecutors, argued that Mueller was appointed unlawfully by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who took over the Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself previous year.

The appointments clause says Congress "may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the president alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments".

Concord Management, which pleaded not guilty to the charges last month, is controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman who was placed on a US sanctions list earlier this year and who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The company is one of three entities, along with 13 Russian individuals, indicted by the special counsel's office in an alleged criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 US election, boost Trump and disparage his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Mueller has won guilty pleas from several former Trump campaign officials for lying to investigators.

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