Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The FBI Raids Paul Manafort's Home in a Search for Documents

Things are already disturbing enough with the situation with North Korea, yet there is a further worry:  what will Der Trumpenführer do to change the media narrative away from the seemingly intensifying Russiagate investigation  as exemplified by the FBI raiding Trump sycophant Paul Manafort's home in a search for documents, including documents relating to Manafort's meeting with Kremlin connected Russian attorney along with Donald Trump, Jr., and Jared Kushner.   One can well imagine the ranting that must have emanated from Trump's lips as the supposedly fabricated - at least in Trump's alternate universe world - took a new concrete turn.  The New York Times looks at this new development.  Here are excerpts:
Investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently searched the Northern Virginia home of President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for tax documents and foreign banking records, a sign that the inquiry into Mr. Manafort has broadened, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The search was carried out at Mr. Manafort’s Alexandria, Va., home shortly after Mr. Manafort met with investigators for the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 25. In that meeting, Mr. Manafort answered questions and provided investigators with notes from a 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russians claiming to have damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Manafort’s spokesman confirmed that an F.B.I. raid had been carried out.
Until now, it was only known that Mr. Manafort was under investigation for his business dealings with his son-in-law, his role in the 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and the Russians and whether his work for the Ukranian government violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
[T]he search warrant for the tax and foreign banking records suggests that investigators are looking at criminal charges related to the federal Bank Secrecy Act, which requires Americans to report their foreign banking accounts.

Politico has more coverage on the fact that this raid should be considered a big deal and could spell trouble for Manafort, and perhaps others:
“It is a big deal,” former Justice Department prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg said. “Prosecutors do not take aggressive steps like this with subjects who the government feels are being open and cooperative. And they also do not do this to ‘send a message.’ They do it because they think there is evidence to be found and that if they do not act aggressively, it could be destroyed.”
Duke Law School professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor, said a search warrant would be needed only if Mueller doubted Manafort would comply with document requests or a subpoena.
"Of course it confirms, beyond doubt, serious, criminal investigative focus on Manafort," Buell said.
A Washington-based defense lawyer with a client caught in the Russia probe said Mueller may also want to turn Manafort into a cooperative witness, something the former campaign manager's representatives had previously said wasn't happening.
“Manafort is on many levels a key subject of the investigation and someone who might be leveraged to share information about others,” the white-collar attorney said.
Manafort is only one prong of a Mueller probe that is examining a wide range of issues related to the 2016 election, including the use of Kremlin-linked social media bots to influence American voters on Trump’s behalf; the hacks into email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta; and Trump’s decision in May to fire FBI Director James Comey.
Mueller has a team of 16 attorneys working on the investigation, and he’s also using a grand jury in Washington to present evidence, question witnesses and issue subpoenas for business and financial records.

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