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Special counsel Robert Mueller (L) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for a closed meeting. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has given a "skeptical" judge a three-page document — written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia investigation — justifying his team's probe in to Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, reports Bloomberg.

Why it matters: Prosecutors reportedly filed the full memo "under seal and directly to the judge through the classified security officer." As Bloomberg points out, that process suggests the document contains national security information.

The backdrop: A federal judge in Virginia challenged the special counsel's case against Manafort earlier this month, and ordered Mueller's team to give him an unredacted version of the memo Rosenstein wrote last August explaining the basis for their interest in Manafort.

"You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. You really care about getting information that Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever.”
— Judge T. S. Ellis III said during a court hearing in Alexandria on May 4

Don't forget: Manafort is charged with tax and bank fraud in Virginia, in addition to facing charges in Washington, D.C. for money laundering and being an unregistered foreign agent.

Go deeper

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  3. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators seeks stimulus dealChuck Grassley returns to Senate after recovering from COVID-19.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. Economy: Wall Street wonders how bad economy has to get for Congress to act.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.

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