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Paul Manafort’s Virginia Home Raided By F.B.I. As Part Of Mueller Investigation

Trump Russia

Numerous media outlets are reporting that the F.B.I. conducted a pre-dawn raid of one of the homes owned by Paul Manafort, the former campaign director for Donald Trump who has been linked to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and contacts between Russian officials and officials close to Trump:

FBI agents raided the Alexandria home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman late last month, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Federal agents appeared at Paul Manafort’s home without advance warning in the predawn hours of July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The search warrant was wide-ranging and FBI agents working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departed the home with various records. Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, confirmed that agents executed a warrant at one of the political consultant’s homes and that Manafort cooperated with the search.

Manafort has been voluntarily producing documents to congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The search warrant indicates investigators may have argued to a federal judge they had reason to believe Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena.

It could also have been intended to send a message to President Trump’s former campaign chairman that he should not expect gentle treatment or legal courtesies from Mueller’s team.

“If the FBI wanted the documents, they could just ask [Manafort] and he would have turned them over,” said one adviser close to the White House.

Josh Stueve, spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment, as did Reginald Brown, an attorney for Manafort.

“Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well,” said Maloni, the spokesman for Manafort.

Mueller has increased legal pressure on Manafort, consolidating under his authority a series of unrelated investigations into various aspects of Manafort’s professional and personal life

Manafort has been at the center of the Russia inquiry for quite awhile, both because of his past lobbying efforts on behalf of the pro-Russian former President of Ukraine and because he was one of three people, along with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Putin government who was said to have information regarding Hillary Clinton. Additionally, as with former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, Manafort appears to have engaged in lobbying for foreign governments without having registered as required by Federal law. As a result, there is a potential that he faces criminal liability that is entirely separate from whatever involvement he may have had in connection with Russian interference in the election. Quite obviously, such potential liability makes him an obvious target for Mueller’s investigation both because of the potential violations of the law involved in lobbying for a foreign government without properly registering as such and because of the potential that charges related to such activities could make him a potential cooperating witness in the overall investigation. There have already been rumors and speculation that General Flynn may also be cooperating with Mueller in the hope of reaching some sort of deal regarding the potential charges against him for his own failure to comply with foreign lobbyist registration laws.

Interestingly enough, The Weekly Standard and pollster Matt McDermott note that this raid, which has not been previously made public, occurred just hours before Donald Trump unload two tweets attacking Matt McCabe, who was then Acting Director of the F.B.I.:

Does this mean that Trump had received some word about the raid from Manafort, who was apparently home at the time the raid was conducted? That’s not clear, but the timing of the tweets based on this new information is certainly interesting. In any case, the raid itself is yet more evidence that this investigation is getting close to people close to Trump, and that appears to be making him nervous. This isn’t necessarily evidence of guilt, of course, but it is consistent with the way Trump has been acting with regard to this entire investigation since February when first asked the F.B.I. .Director James Comey if he could find a way to back off of the investigation of Michael Flynn, as well as subsequent actions that seem to be consistent with a desire to halt or hinder the entire investigation. That alone seems to me to be cause for Mueller to continue digging further.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    July 26th?
    How in hell did a pre-dawn FBI raid go un-noticed for weeks?
    It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for Donnie to pardon him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Your speculation about Manafort getting word to Trump is interesting. If it could be proven, it would certainly look like collusion to a jury, and would certainly give the lie to Trump’s recent efforts to disavow knowledge of Manafort (who was his bloody campaign manager for chrissake).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    Julian Sanchez pointed this out on Twitter: this was a warrant, not a subpoena, and requires probable cause. They’re not fishing anymore, if they ever were. They are closing in on specific allegations.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  4. Hal_10000 says:

    Oops. Left an unclosed html command in there. Hope it doesn’t break everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Hmm. Can’t look it up right now but when did Trump start tweeting about having the ability to pardon himself and others? I really think it was earlier than the end of July, but perhaps I’m wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Tyrell says:

    A raid without warning: is that even legal, even with a search warrant ? Someone banging my door down in the middle of the night is going to cause a problem.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 34

  7. CSK says:

    @Tyrell:

    Of course it’s legal. That’s implicit in the issuance of the warrant itself. What would be the point of giving someone advance notice to hide or destroy incriminating material?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 0

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:
    Would it be legal if it was a suspected drug dealer?

    Of course it’s legal, do you not own a TV?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  9. Bob@Younsgtown says:

    @CSK: @michael reynolds:
    I’m still thinking that Tyrell is a russian blog-bot

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  10. CSK says:

    @Bob@Younsgtown:

    From CSK’s Compendium of Useless Knowledge: Sir James Tyrell was a close associate of Richard III and a supporter of the House of York. Thomas More claimed that Tyrell murdered the Princes in the Tower.

    There may be some subliminal message in the OTB Tyrell’s choice of screen name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. Electroman says:

    @Bob@Younsgtown: @CSK: Dr. Tyrell was the inventor of the replicant in the movie “Blade Runner”. I prefer to think of our Tyrell as a replicant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  12. iSeeDumbPeople says:

    Let us please not forget that Trump also attacked our transgender troops that day. All that angst just to show the media a squirrel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Electroman: Oh. I like that. Good find.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Of course it’s legal, do you not own a TV?

    Tyrell hasn’t watched TV since they ruined it by adding color.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    This is how it begins. Once you have Manafort’s ledgers, and you identify dirty, you go after whatever is on the other side of those transactions.

    And then you find more dirty, and you investigate the other side of that dirty.

    You don’t need me to tell you that Manafort will lead to Russia and Russia will lead to Trump (et al). Mueller isn’t playing. He doesn’t bluff. If I were Trump I’d be investing in a fleet of SCM shredders and praying my business “partners” do as well.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  16. CSK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    If this helps, the WaPo reported on July 20 that Trump was seeking info about the extent of his pardon power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. MarkedMan says:

    I’d be interested in knowing more about preemptive pardons. Can Trump really pardon someone preemptively without specifying the crimes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. de stijl says:

    @Electroman:

    And the corporate motto for the Tyrell Corporation is:

    “More human than human is our motto”

    Tyrell, the commenter on OTB, is a very savvy, very genre knowledgeable spoof, or a very Mayberry RFD person in real life. Aunt Bea would wipe the floor with Tyrell. Deputy Fife would mock his naivete. And he just keeps on trucking on.

    I think he is real. Maybe.

    Most of the times. Then, at other times, you look at the comment and you just have to go, “No way. He’s Mr. Fakey Spoofy McSpooferson.”

    If he is fake, he’s really good at it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    This is how it begins.

    Plus the FBI had just interviewed him the day before…so you can bet he said some stuff the ledgers contradict. Lying to the FBI…not good for your resume.
    So they flip Manafort…Trump can’t pardon Manafort without making himself look dirtier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Upstanding citizens get a heads-up on search warrants. They are politely invited to the police station to share their story accompanied by their attorney.

    Thugs get no-knock warrants with a door ram and flash bangs. They often get dead, too.

    There is no racial or class component involved. Not in the slightest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  21. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Sure, and you’ve probably cheered for it to happen before when the target was a suspected drug dealer/user. It all depends on whose ox is being gored. Right now, you seem to be wondering about abuses of a police state. Reason?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  22. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    He can pardon anyone accused of a federal crime or a crime committed within the D.C.jurisdiction, and in fact preemptively pardon people who are simply under suspicion, never mind arrested, charged, tried, and convicted. He could pardon Mike Flynn right now if he wanted.

    It’s a two-edged sword for him, though, because the pardon immunizes the pardonee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  23. Jen says:

    @de stijl: Upstanding citizens with paper shredders in their home offices probably don’t get quite the leeway you are suggesting…and pretty much anyone with a home office has a shredder nowadays (I know I do).

    My guess is that @Daryl above is on the right track. Something Manafort said in testimony contradicted something the FBI already knew, and they wanted to secure the documentation before Manafort realized he made a contradictory/false/misleading statement and got rid of the evidence.

    It’s fun to speculate, but that’s about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: but wouldn’t he have to specify what he pardons them for? Wouldn’t he have to say “I pardon him for unreported collisions with Russians”? It seems hard to believe he could just say ” I pardon this guy for any crimes he might have comittted now or during my term as president”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: Google “no knock raid” and take a looksie at how they have been abused to the point where they are kicking down doors at 4am for less than an ounce of pot…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. Mikey says:

    And that very same morning, Trump tweeted an attack on then-Acting FBI Director McCabe, asking why Sessions hadn’t fired and replaced him yet.

    So let’s see…Trump fires FBI Director Comey for not squashing the Russia investigation, then pushes for the firing of Comey’s successor the day the FBI executes a warrant on the property of the former director of Trump’s Presidential campaign.

    These are not the actions of an innocent man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    …but wouldn’t he have to specify what he pardons them for?
    Apparently not.

    Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9,1974.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    No. Mr. Bluster has provided a very useful quote. Basically it’s saying, “Whatever you might have done, you’re off the hook forever.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. MarkedMan says:

    Hmmm… So a some questions/comments come to mind:
    1) I don’t believe the pardon was ever tested in court. Correct?
    2) It referred to a specific time period. I assume Trump would want to make it more general
    3) I imagine most of the financial stuff could be prosecuted in state as well as federal court. So what’s to stop Mueller from handing over Manafort’s info to a States attorney general?
    4) That state liability could work in a bad way too. I imagine Trump could pardon Manafort, Meuller would call on him to testify, but he could still plead the fifth because of state liability.
    5) Is there any indications that Trump can pardon somebody for future crimes?

    Basically, Trump is way more dirty than Spiro Agnew and a traitor to boot, so him having this pardoning power is a real fly in the ointment…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. de stijl says:

    @Jen: ,

    I was being facetious. Perhaps more facetious than I should have if that was your understanding.

    Any cop interaction is a steamroller.

    UMC and up folks are not provided opportunities to shred their evidence. They don’t get a heads-up (mostly.) They are handled differently. More subtly. With more discretion.

    They also don’t usually get their front door knocked down with a steel ram followed by flash-bangs.

    If we were to quantify search warrant service process by income, race, and class, we would see marked difference in the manner those warrants were served.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Ford did it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Except Manafort still breathes..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: b

    ut wouldn’t he have to specify what he pardons them for?

    Ford didn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan:

    1) I don’t believe the pardon was ever tested in court. Correct?

    Presidential pardons are in the constitution and absolute< No testing in court necessary.

    2) It referred to a specific time period. I assume Trump would want to make it more general

    Define “general”.

    3) I imagine most of the financial stuff could be prosecuted in state as well as federal court. So what’s to stop Mueller from handing over Manafort’s info to a States attorney general?

    Nothing.

    4) That state liability could work in a bad way too. I imagine Trump could pardon Manafort, Meuller would call on him to testify, but he could still plead the fifth because of state liability.

    Possibly.It’s a sticky wicket.

    5) Is there any indications that Trump can pardon somebody for future crimes?

    NO. Absolutely not. Having been given a pardon for any crimes committed, one must then testify (with the possible exception of the above mentioned sticky wicket) truthfully about them. If one does not one is subject to perjury charges.

    Basically, Trump is way more dirty than Spiro Agnew and a traitor to boot, so him having this pardoning power is a real fly in the ointment.

    It’s a damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t situation. Imagine Trump pardons everyone around him for any crimes they may or may not have committed. What does the GOP do? Go along with it? And lose all elections for now and here ever after?

    Or impeach?

    Self preservation is a powerful incentive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. de stijl says:

    @Electroman:

    OT: When my time comes, when some random doctor says to me that there is nothing that can be done; sorry, but you’re time is drawing short…

    Well, then I’m going to quote Roy Batty right back to that quack bastard:

    I want more life, fvcker!”

    Like Batty says to Tyrell in the elevator scene.

    I know, really big life-ending issue for a decades old quote that she / he won’t recognize. Doesn’t matter. I’m gonna say it anyway. I’m locked in.

    It will amuse me at a time when humor is absent.

    Yeah, I’ll wink a bit and apologize. But, I’m still gonna say it. Guaranteed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I also won’t kill the doctor with my thumbs via his eye sockets.

    Just the Roy Batty quote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Are you implying that Manafort is a street thug? You’re incorrect.

    Anyone that owes $17 million to a Russian oligarch is, by any definition, rich. Poor folks don’t get that much financing. They maybe get the Rent-to-Own credit. Maybe. Fingerhut and Rent-A-Center.

    Someone who owes $17 million gets the rich guy treatment.

    No flash-bangs. No hard entry. Not killed while attempting to escape. No choke hold. Hell, they won’t even kill his dog.

    Serving a search warrant on a rich guy is a media event with all that implies.

    Serving a search warrant on a poor guy never gets reported unless the thumpers get radically proactive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. Facebones says:

    The pro-Trump National Enquirer is now reporting on Manafort’s “sick” affairs. So, seems clear that Trump wants him to be the sacrificial lamb and he hopes Meuller looks no further.

    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/photos/paul-manafort-sex-scandal-mistress/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. de stijl says:

    Opiod abuse is a national health crisis. Crack cocaine abuse was a national crime crisis.

    Victims vs predators

    Notice the difference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  40. Davebo says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I hereby pardon Casper Weinberger for all the things he didn’t do that I didn’t know about.

    George H.W. Bush Christmas Day, 1992

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Laura Koerber says:

    Can an investigation continue even if the target is pardoned? It seems to be that it could–to find the facts, regardless of whether or not there will be a prosecution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. al-Alameda says:

    @de stijl:

    Opiod abuse is a national health crisis. Crack cocaine abuse was a national crime crisis.

    Victims vs predators
    Notice the difference?

    The difference is, of course, racial.
    Our conservative-proclaimed post-racial society notwithstanding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  43. de stijl says:

    @al-Alameda:

    I’m pissed I misspelled opioid.

    The “meth crisis” did not evoke the same traction as opioids.

    Meth was / is a poor white folks drug, in common understanding.

    Think poor “white trash” and meth abuse and manufacture generally follows in most people’s minds. When rampant opioid abuse was generally contained to that same population, the popular opinion was that they had brought their plight on themselves and character matters and boot straps and Calvinism.

    When opioid addiction appeared outside of the Appalachians and the Ozarks and reached into the white middle class it became a crisis.

    Middle class people (i.e. upstanding white citizens) then came to be addicted everyehere, often because of an induced dependence on prescription opioids. When the scrip could no longer be extended, illegal alternatives were grasped.

    This is the story of intoxicants in the US. If racial minorities use a drug it is criminalized and heartily enforced. If poor people of any race commonly use an intoxicant, it is criminalized, but enforcement is variable. If “upstanding citizens” use a drug it is essentially decriminalized *for them only*.

    If “upstanding citizens” start stealing from their parents and selling their bodies for money to buy drugs, it becomes a national health crisis. No matter that that same behavior has existed for generations.

    It is essentially a failure of empathy. Tribalism usually trumps empathy.

    Crack was just a race panic. Remember “super predators”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  44. flat earth luddite says:

    @Tyrell: Yes, Tyrell, it is legal. It’s a warrant. He’s lucky they knocked. They could have legally used a “door knocker” and left the door in the middle of the front hallway (the way it happens if you’re poor and un-politicaly-connected). If you refuse entry, they will kick the door in, and you will be in cuffs in the back of the car. At least that’s the way it works in the rest of the USA

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Tyrell says:

    @al-Alameda: I don’t know how much violent crime is connected with the opoids compared to the violence connected with cocaine and heroin. Just look at the gang wars and violence in the big cities.
    This is not some racist issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0