Agents from the FBI raided Paul Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia late last month. Manafort is the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, and his home was raided in the predawn house of July 26. A search warrant was issued to seize materials and documents involved in the special counsel investigation of the 2016 election and potential Russia interference.
The raid took place without any warning the day following Manafort meeting with staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. While the raid was unexpected, Manafort was apparently cooperative with the search.
Word is that the search warrant had a wide-range description, giving FBI agents working for Robert Mueller, special counsel in charge of investigating the potential Russian ties to Trump’s victory. Agents left Manafort’s home with various records.
The search warrant is a bad thing for the Trump administration. While Manafort was cooperative, the need for a warrant indicates that Mueller believes that Trump’s former campaign chairman could not be trusted to turn all documents and intel over following a grand jury subpoena. Manafort had been producing documents to the investigation, but the warrant makes it look like he was not producing everything he was supposed to, or expected to.
The warrant should show Manafort, as well as anyone else in the Donald Trump administration, that they should not expect Mueller and his team of investigators to use kid gloves on them. It will likely be another source of fuel behind speculation that Trump will try to fire Mueller.
In the 1980s, Manafort was a political consultant and a lobbyist. He worked with clients outside the U.S., which included a couple dictators, who at the time, were allied with the U.S.
Information so far shows that some of the documents seized in the pre-dawn raid included some of the materials already given to Congress by Manafort. A witness close to the White House stated that Manafort would have turned all the documents over to the FBI if they would have asked, according to The Washington Post. However, special counsel asked for these documents, and apparently did not get them all.
Manaforts legal counsel has stated that he has been cooperating with the investigation and continues to do so, however, the raid says different. Manafort has seen increased legal pressure from Mueller, combining a series of unrelated investigations under his authority that revolve around Trump’s former campaign chairman’s personal and professional life.
The fear from allies of Manafort is that Mueller will be able to build a case against Manafort that is not related to the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. This would give Mueller the ability to try to get Manafort to provide information against other members of the Trump administration that would lessen the charges potentially facing him.
Some if the documents Manafort has already provided the House and Senate intelligence committees, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee, apparently include notes taken during a meeting in 2016 at Trump Tower in New York with a Russian Lawyer and Donald Trump Jr.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy ABC