Columns

FBI Seized Records from Manafort's Home as Trump Tweeted Displeasure with Acting Director

Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander, United States Africa Command, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill on Feb. 7, 2019. (Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

The FBI conducted a predawn raid on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s Alexandria, Va., home two weeks ago, seizing tax and banking records that in some cases had been provided to a Senate committee.

The Washington Post reported that agents executed a “wide-ranging” search warrant in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and took various records. A Manafort spokesman confirmed the July 26 search and said Manafort was cooperative.

“Manafort’s allies fear that Mueller hopes to build a case against Manafort unrelated to the 2016 campaign, in hopes that the former campaign operative would provide information against others in Trump’s inner circle in exchange for lessening his own legal exposure,” the Post reported.

The New York Times reported that FBI agents seized “tax documents and foreign banking records” in their operation.

Citing records in Cyprus, the NYT reported on July 19 that Manafort “had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016” and the money “appears to have been owed by shell companies connected to Mr. Manafort’s business activities in Ukraine when he worked as a consultant to the pro-Russia Party of Regions.”

This year, Manafort registered as a lobbyist for the Party of Regions for work conducted between 2012 and 2014 that netted nearly $17 million.

The raid occurred a day after Manafort spoke with the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. On the day of the raid, Manafort had been scheduled to testify in open session before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but talks regarding the testimony fell through and Manafort did not appear but agreed to hand over documents.

The Judiciary Committee said Tuesday that the Trump campaign has turned over about 20,000 pages of documents requested by lawmakers; Manafort has handed in about 400 pages of documents and Donald Trump, Jr., 250 pages related to any communications with Russians in regards to the campaign, including the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting in which the Trump campaign had been promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Some of the documents seized in the raid reportedly mirrored what Manafort gave to the committee.

Manafort and Trump Jr. may testify publicly as soon as late September.

On the day of the raid, President Trump tweeted, “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!”

Trump also tweeted his decision to ban transgender service members from the military that morning.