Special counsel Robert Mueller is attempting to persuade a federal judge to turn down a request by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to hold a hearing about leaks surrounding the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling.
According to Politico, Manafort asked a federal judge in Virginia for a hearing where witnesses could be summoned to testify about leaks to the media, arguing that the leaking of sensitive details about the investigation into him prevented him from getting a fair trial.
The prosecutors responded to Manafort in a court filing on Monday, maintaining that the anonymously sourced news accounts Manafort’s defense cited do not “mention the role or activities of a grand jury”, and thus doesn’t merit a hearing.
“Many of the matters reported, if accurate, would have been known to the defense, to witnesses who were interviewed or subpoenaed for documents, or to other investigators examining overlapping issues,” prosecutors wrote. “The cited articles, in short, do not establish any factual basis for the inquiry that Manafort asks the Court to undertake.”
The prosecutors also suggested that members of Congress or their aides might have been the possible source of the leaks. They also stated that if such a hearing was permitted, it would be fair to try to determine if any of the leaks came from Manafort’s defense or his spokesperson, Politico wrote. Manafort has been charged on multiple accounts, including tax evasion, bank fraud, and money laundering.
The special counsel’s team reportedly wants to question President Donald Trump, but the White House has been hesitant to agree to an interview.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that the special counsel’s investigation and the raid on Michael Cohen are reportedly on Trump’s mind quite often. He allegedly vents to close associates about the raid as often as “20 times a day.”