Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has requested 70 blank subpoenas in the government's case against former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Ellis said it appeared that prosecutors were using the indictment of Manafort to pressure him to cooperate against President Donald Trump.
"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud", Judge Ellis said, "You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment".
"That's what you're really interested in", said Ellis, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, CNN reported.
During Friday's hearing, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis accused Mueller's team of lying about the scope of the Russian Federation investigation.
Manafort faces an even broader array of charges pending in a separate but related case in Washington, D.C., where he is scheduled to go on trial in September.
Judge T.S. Ellis III gave Justice Department attorneys two weeks to provide him with complete copies of two memos written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, one from May 2017, and the other, from August, that lay out the scope and ground rules for the investigation.
While speaking to the NRA at a conference in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Trump read out Ellis's remarks and said that he felt sympathy for Manafort, and agreed with Ellis about Mueller's motivation.
Trump called Manafort "a nice guy" but also said he was part of his campaign for "a very short period of time".
"I've been saying that for a long time". The special counsel has kept some of its power a secret for national security reasons.
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. "I understand your argument, but it kind of invites, 'C'mon man'".
Breeden said he wouldn't say how much Mueller had spent of his $10 million budget.
'I'm sure you're sensitive to the fact that the American people feel pretty strongly about no one having unfettered power, ' Ellis said. "We are operating within a framework of regulations".
Among the many topics Trump would cover, it is notable that he made reference to an incident that took place in a Virginia court earlier in the day at a hearing in the Paul Manafort case.
The cases are U.S. v. Manafort, 18-cr-83, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria), and U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).