Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized documents and other material last month at the Virginia home of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, as part of a special counsel’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, a spokesman for Manafort said early today.
The pre-dawn raid was conducted at Manafort’s home in the Washington suburb of Alexandria without advance warning on July 26, a day after Manafort had met with Senate Intelligence Committee staff members, the Washington Post reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the probe.
The search warrant was wide-ranging and FBI agents working with Robert Mueller, the special counsel named by the Justice Department in May to head the investigation, departed the home with various records, the Post said. Investigators were looking for tax documents and foreign banking records, the New York Times reported.
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni confirmed the raid had taken place.
“FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr Manafort’s residences. Mr Manafort has consistently co-operated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well,” Maloni said in an e-mail.
The raid was the latest indication of the intensifying of Mueller’s probe, which Trump has derided as a “witch hunt”. Allegations of possible collusion between people associated with Trump’s campaign and Moscow have dogged the Republican president since he took office in January.
US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential race, in part by hacking and releasing e-mails embarrassing to Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, to help him get elected.
Manafort has been a key figure in the congressional and federal investigations into the matter. Mueller’s team is examining money-laundering accusations against Manafort, poring over his financial and real estate records in New York as well as his involvement in Ukrainian politics, two officials said last month.
A Senate Judiciary Committee aide said the panel on August 2 received approximately 20,000 pages of documents from Trump’s presidential campaign that it requested for its own Russia investigation, as well as about 400 pages of documents from Manafort the same day.