The Washington Post released a story this morning that the F.B.I., acting on behalf of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, executed a search warrant on the home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in the pre-dawn hours of July 26th. This timing of the warrant is significant in that it came “the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee.” At that time, Manafort had reportedly voluntarily turned over all documents relating to the Russia investigation.
According WaPo “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.”
There are two significant issues relating to this story. The first being that the information regarding the raid was not disclosed until more than a week after the search warrant was issued. The second is that Special Counsel Mueller is not simply going to take the word of any member of Team Trump that they have fully complied with requests for documents.
The agents were seen leaving Manafort’s house with documents, but their significance is not yet known, but they included materials that Manafort had already provided to Congress. As the Post noted “Josh Stueve, spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment, as did Reginald Brown, an attorney for Manafort.”
Manafort’s financial ties to Ukrainian oligarchs has been a matter of controversy since he was named Trump’s campaign manager, replacing Corey Lewandowski. There is also his role in the now infamous June 6th meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Russian operatives offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. His contemporaneous notes on that meeting were one of the primary documents he turned over to Congress.
Legal analysts believe that Mueller may be increasing legal pressure on Manafort hoping that he will “flip” and provide information against others in Trump’s inner circle. One thing is certain. Mueller has sent a clear message that he is not fooling around with this investigation and that he intends to pursue every legal means open to him to get to the truth.
Donald Trump might just be waking up to the fact that this is one legal threat he cannot lie, bully, or bribe his way out of. Not only the President, but his family and his most loyal supporters should be very, very concerned.