Roger Stone associate held in contempt in Russia probe

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An associate of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone was held in contempt of court Friday in a fresh attempt to challenge Robert Mueller's appointment as the special counsel investigating Trump campaign contacts with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Miller had previously challenged the subpoena ordering him to testify before the grand jury, arguing that Mueller's appointment as special counsel was unconstitutional.

Miller attorney Paul Kamenar told reporters after the judge's ruling that he actually wanted to be held in contempt of court so that they could appeal the decision in front of a different judge at the court of appeals. Deputy Attorney General Robert Mueller appointed special counsel a year ago, after Mr. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

If Mueller was not correctly appointed, that calls into question the legality of his client to testify, Kamenar argued. He asserted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not have the authority to appoint Mueller to lead the investigation into Trump campaign contacts with Russian Federation.

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But Mueller's subpoena of Miller and other Stone associates recently suggests he is now focusing on whether Stone may have had knowledge in advance about the damaging leaks of Democratic documents that Guccifer provided to Wikileaks in the months running up to the November 2016 presidential election.

Stone told CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week that he has not been contacted by the special counsel's office and said that while he "would not rule out cooperating", with the investigation, he would not testify against Trump.

Stone, who served as an unofficial adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential race, has acknowledged he communicated with Guccifer 2.0 - the fictitious online persona through which Kremlin intelligence operatives disseminated stolen documents from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, as Mueller outlined in a 29-page indictment of Russian officials who coordinated the Kremlin's interference in the United States election. She was released in 2016, after Stone had left the Trump campaign. Kamenar says Judge Beryl Howell has stayed her contempt order until Monday, so that Miller can appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court.

The statement from lawyer Grant Smith said the exchange "provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Guccifer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the [Democratic National Committee] e-mails".

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