It has become increasingly clear in recent weeks that Special Counsel Mueller is intent upon either flipping Paul Manafort against Trump in his ‘Russian collusion’ investigation or filing charges against him for crimes unrelated to the 2016 presidential campaign. Either way, Manafort’s future looks to be dimming.
As the Daily Caller has just revealed in an exclusive report, former Trump campaign aides are now saying that Manafort could be indicted for financial crimes, allegedly including money laundering and/or tax evasion, in the very near future.
Former Trump campaign aides are telling The Daily Caller that they increasingly believe former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will be indicted for crimes such as money laundering or tax evasion.
One of the former campaign advisers has knowledge of the ongoing investigations into Manafort, a longtime Republican operative who joined the Trump campaign last March. Another former aide said his own knowledge of Manafort’s past history working with despots, coupled with news reports about Mueller’s investigation, led him to believe that an indictment of Manafort is becoming more likely.
The former Trump advisers told TheDC they have no knowledge of any collusion with the Russian government on the presidential campaign. One aide stressed that any financial crimes by Manafort are his own problem and not that of the White House.
“Ill-informed speculation has become the new Washington parlor game. Despite breathless headlines, it is increasingly clear the Russia Collusion story is eroding,” Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni told TheDC. Maloni declined to comment when asked specifically about financial crimes.
One of the former aides was interviewed by a Congressional committee investigating Russian interference and told TheDC that many of the questions were about Manafort’s finances.
“Investigators appeared focused on finances and business relationships of the Trump family and top associates such as Paul Manafort and General Michael Flynn,” the former Trump campaign adviser told TheDC.
Of course, back in July WaPo reported that FBI agents “raided the Alexandria home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials.” Federal agents reportedly appeared at Manafort’s home without advance warning in the predawn hours on Wednesday, July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee. The WaPo reported that the served search warrant was “wide-ranging and FBI agents working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departed the home with various records.”
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.
Then again, other rumors would suggest that Manafort could luck out on a technicality as Law Newz reported earlier today that FBI agents may have overstepped their bounds during their raid and collected evidence from Manafort’s home that was subject to attorney-client privilege. If true, such a blatant abuse of power could result in all evidence from Manafort’s home being dismissed by the courts.
As the Robert Mueller investigation intensifies, new details are being leaked about the direction the probe is going. Buried in a story about the intensifying relationship between Mueller and Congress, CNN revealed some very interesting information. According to the report, Mueller’s team may have obtained evidence in the raid of Paul Manafort’s home that was not covered by the search warrant.
As the article points out, this certainly brings up concerns as to what exactly was seized, what investigators saw, and who handled the material. You can’t “unsee” evidence once you saw it.
“If they (investigators) had any kind of heads up, and they went beyond the scope of the warrant, that could be a problem,” Henry Hockeimer, a former federal prosecutor, told LawNewz.com.
Meanwhile, just one day after we found out about the FBI’s raid, we learned that Special Counsel Mueller had also been going after Manafort’s family in order gather dirt. According to Politico’s anonymous sources, Manafort’s son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, was approached earlier this summer regarding his “business deals” with Manafort.
Federal investigators sought cooperation from Paul Manafort’s son-in-law in an effort to increase pressure on President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, according to three people familiar with the probe.
Investigators approached Jeffrey Yohai, who has partnered in business deals with Manafort, earlier this summer, setting off “real waves” in Manafort’s orbit, one of these people said. Another of these people said investigators are trying to get “into Manafort’s head.”
Manafort, who is a focus of the broad federal and congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, is also under investigation for his business and real estate transactions, including some that involve Yohai.
As Politico noted at the time, Mueller’s targeting of both Manafort and his son-in-law over potential criminal wrongdoing is a common tactic employed in white-collar cases, commonly called “climbing the ladder.” The strategy, more or less, entails digging up whatever dirt can be found on those in Trump’s orbit and then using that dirt to coerce potential witnesses into cooperation.
“Manafort is — on many levels — a key subject of the investigation and someone who might be leveraged to share information about others,” said one Washington-based white-collar attorney with a client involved in the Russia probe.
The approach involves finding a suspected crime — false statements on tax returns or loan applications, for example — and then offering leniency on prosecution in exchange for cooperation. “They always start with the people on the low end of the ladder and try to get information on someone high up on the ladder,” said William Jeffress, a white-collar attorney who represented Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, in the President George W. Bush-era Valerie Plame leak investigation.
Mueller would clearly have jurisdiction over any real estate dealings between Yohai, Manafort and Russians, Jeffress said. In addition, he could press Yohai for details on what he knows about Manafort’s role in the campaign.
In summary, when your ‘Russian collusion’ narrative fails miserably…keep digging until you find something on someone…Paul Manafort appears to be that ‘someone.’