The FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid of Paul Manafort’s home late last month in search of documents the former Trump campaign manager had refused to surrender in the Russia probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, the Washington Post reports:
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.
The raid came as 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.
The NYT adds: “The F.B.I. typically seeks such records when investigating violations of the federal Bank Secrecy Act, which requires Americans to report their foreign banking accounts.”
So *this* was the day of the Manafort raid – the Jeff Sessions-bashing, transgender-banning, pardon-floating, Scaramucci-fest day. https://t.co/yc2MCQcWD6
— Alexander Panetta (@Alex_Panetta) August 9, 2017
News of the raid, which was conducted the day after he voluntarily met with the Senate Intelligence Committee, comes a day after news broke that Trump has sent private messages of “appreciation” to Mueller while in public condemning the probe as a “witch hunt.”
“He appreciates what Bob Mueller is doing,” Trump’s chief counsel John Dowd told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday. “He asked me to share that with him and that’s what I’ve done.”
Trump’s legal team has been in contact with Mueller’s office, and Dowd says he has passed along the president’s messages expressing “appreciation and greetings’’ to the special counsel.
“The president has sent messages back and forth,’’ Dowd said, declining to elaborate further.
Washington political circles for weeks have been on high alert for the possibility the president could try to get rid of Mueller or otherwise wrest control of the federal Russia probe he frequently denounces as a “hoax.”
Yet the Trump legal camp cast the communications as a sign that the president is willing to cooperate with Mueller, whose office declined to comment, and former federal prosecutors say there are no rules that would prevent a president from passing along messages to the special counsel through an attorney.