FBI raid on Manafort

FBI raid on Manafort
The FBI conducted a raid on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home in July. During the pre-dawn raid, the FBI reportedly seized documents related to the..

The FBI conducted a raid on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home in July.

During the pre-dawn raid, the FBI reportedly seized documents related to the investigation into Russian interference in the US election.

Background

Paul Manafort is a political consultant and lobbyist who joined the Trump Presidential campaign in March 2016. In August 2016, reports noted that Manafort had ties to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. It was also alleged that he may have illegally received $12.7 million off the books. He left the campaign shortly thereafter.

In 2017, the American media revealed that during the campaign, Trump Jr met with Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya and music promoter Rob Goldstone. Veselnitskaya has deep ties to Kremlin. Based on emails released by Trump Jr, Goldstone had promised information that would be harmful to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. The meeting was also attended by Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor at the White House and Manafort.

Additionally, details have since emerged that Manafort has been under investigation from the FBI since 2014. Other intelligence agencies such as the CIA, NSA and the Director of National Intelligence are also investigating him.

In May 2017, the Department of Justice appointed former FBI chief Robert Mueller to head the investigation against the Russian collusion in the presidential election. Therefore, Mueller has taken over the existing criminal probe on Manafort.

Analysis  

The Washington Post reported that the raid took place on July 26th. The raid was conducted without any prior warning. These kinds of raids are conducted using the so-called “no-knock” warrants. Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, confirmed news noting, “FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr Manafort’s residences. Mr Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well.” No further details were provided.

The raid is unusual in nature because Manafort had already turned over hundreds of pages of documents to Senate investigators.

Mueller also has not come forward with any details regarding the motives behind the raid. The investigator has kept a low-profile and has declined to make any public comments since being appointed as the Special Counsel. He has assembled a team of lawyers to aid in the investigation and has impaneled a grand jury.

Assessment

Our assessment is that the raid shows that Mueller and his team are vigilantly building a case against the Trump campaign. Up until now, the US President Donald Trump has dismissed the investigation as nothing more than a political “witch hunt.” However, the raid is indication that Manafort and possibly other members of the Trump campaign are under serious scrutiny.  According to experts, a ‘no-knock’ warrant is only issued when investigators believe they cannot trust a suspect.  

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