FBI agents raided the home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort without warning on July 26 with a search warrant to seize documents and other materials related to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Manafort is a lawyer, lobbyist and political consultant who served as campaign manager for the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in 2016.
Federal agents appeared at Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, without advance warning during the predawn hours of July 26, one day after he spoke with legislative staff concerning the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
FBI agents left the house with unspecified records. Since Manafort had offered to turn over documents voluntarily, the search warrant suggests that investigators may have argued to a federal judge they had reason to believe he could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena.
Manafort also has homes in New York City, the Hamptons and Florida. It’s unclear if those have been raided as well.
Manafort resigned as Trump’s second campaign manager in August 2016 after it was revealed that he may have received an illegal $12 million from the Ukrainian government. He registered as a foreign agent working for Ukraine only after .
The firm headed by Manafort made more than $17 million working as a foreign agent of a pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych and the former president’s Ukrainian political party, according to disclosure reports filed in June 2017.
Trump forced Manafort to step down from his campaign last year after The Associated Press reported that Manafort and another Trump campaign official, Rick Gates, had secretly helped the Ukraine steer money to two Washington lobbying firms through a nonprofit. Neither Manafort nor the lobbying firms, Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC, registered with the Justice Department as foreign agents working on behalf of the party at the time.
Manafort also joined Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in a secret June 2016 meeting at a Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton. That meeting became a focus of the federal Trump-Russia probe after the New York Times exposed it in July.
Kushner also spoke with the Senate about the meeting, and the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that Trump Jr. had turned over more than 250 pages of records. The Trump campaign has given the committee more than 20,000 pages.
Michael Flynn, who served briefly as White House national security adviser, filed paperwork earlier this year admitting that he had done lobbying for the Turkish government while advising Trump’s campaign.
It has been known that Manafort is under investigation for his business dealings, his role in the 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and the Russians and whether his work for the Ukranian government violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Willfully failing to report under the Foreign Agent Registration Act is a felony, but the government rarely prosecutes cases under the statute, and Manafort’s firm filed forms with the Justice Department last month to be retroactively in compliance with the law.
The search warrant for the tax and foreign banking records suggests that investigators are looking at criminal charges related to the federal Bank Secrecy Act, which requires Americans to report their foreign banking accounts.
As Trump leads the nation into what may become a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, Americans are growing increasingly more worried that his election and administration are largely influenced by a hostile foreign power.The Resident’s penchant for dishonesty and deception has many also concerned that he could escalate military tension to distract from crimes that may be revealed in the course of the ongoing investigations.
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