"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud", Ellis told four prosecutors working for Mueller.
Trump noted that the judge asked prosecutors how the charges brought against Manafort - which stem from his work in Ukraine before the 2016 election - were relevant to the core of the Russian Federation probe and that the judge hypothesized that prosecutors only went after Manafort to secure his cooperation for other parts of the probe. Manafort claimed that Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein went beyond their power, as the charges had nothing to do with the 2016 Presidential election.
The judge then gave Mueller's team two weeks to hand over an unredacted version of the "scope memo", which reportedly outlines the scope of their Russian Federation investigation and is now being sought in full by House Republicans as well.
The Reagan appointee also suggested that the Mueller Team is pressuring or leveraging Manafort to flip on Trump, Politico noted.
Earlier this week, Manafort revealed in a court filing that the special prosecutor's office has said they have no evidence of any recording or intercepted phone call between him and Russian officials.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Prosecutors countered in their own filing that an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government "would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian-associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs".
The first, brought in Washington, DC, accuses Manafort of money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent, and making false statements to investigators.
Trump read some of the Journal's report during his speech at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting Friday and affirmed Ellis' concerns, praising him as a "respected" judge. Ellis repeated his suspicion several times in the hour-long court hearing.
In May, a federal judge accused Mueller's team of wanting to take down Trump and lying during the investigation. "You really care about what information he might give you about Mr. Trump and what might lead to his impeachment or prosecution".
'We are the Justice Department, ' Dreeben said of the special counsel's office.
Breeden said he wouldn't say how much Mueller had spent of his $10 million budget.
"This indictment didn't arise from your investigation", Ellis said.
Ellis also said that Mueller's team does not have "unfettered power".
The Virginia case is scheduled for trial in July.
Asha Rangappa, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent, characterized Ellis' remarks about prosecutors aiming to get Manafort to flip as "bizarre commentary".