FBI Raided Former Trump Campaign Chairman Manafort's Home

Agents executed search warrant as part of Russia investigation

Paul Manafort / Getty Images
August 9, 2017

FBI agents used a search warrant to raid the home of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in Alexandria, Va. late last month, as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Federal agents appeared at Manafort's home without advance warning in the early morning hours of July 26, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. The FBI had coordinated with special counsel Robert Mueller and obtained a search warrant to seize documents and other materials.

To obtain the search warrant, federal 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, according to the Post.

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, confirmed that agents executed a warrant at one of Manafort's homes and that the political consultant had cooperated with the search.

"Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well," Maloni said.

Prior to the raid, Manafort had voluntarily produced documents to congressional committees conducting separate investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee the day before the raid.

The seized documents included materials Manafort had already provided to Congress—the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate and House intelligence committees—people familiar with the search told the Post.

"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.

The documents reportedly include notes Manafort took while attending the highly-scrutinized meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.

Manafort attended the meeting at the invitation of Trump Jr. after he was promised damaging information about presidential opponent Hillary Clinton. All parties present at the meeting maintain that no such information was exchanged.

Manafort's allies fear that Mueller hopes to build a case against the former Trump campaign chief unrelated to the 2016 campaign for the purposes of leverage. The motivation for producing such leverage is that Manafort would then be in a place to provide information against others in Trump's inner circle in exchange for lessening his own legal exposure.

Some parties involved have further speculated that the decision to raid Manafort's home was an intentional move to send a message to the former campaign chairman that he should not expect gentle treatment or legal courtesies from Mueller's team, according to the Post.

The significance of the records seized from Manafort's apartment is unclear.