One of President Donald Trump’s closest allies is under intense federal scrutiny over his part in the ongoing Trump-Russia investigations.
Federal agents reportedly carried out a search this week at the home of former Trump campaign executive Paul Manafort. The search is part of the ongoing investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Investigators say they were searching Manafort’s home in hopes of finding tax documents and other financial records which could tie the Trump organization to Russia political and business misconduct.
Manafort is predictably brushing off the situation, but observers say this is a major turning point in the campaign to uncover the Trump team’s illegal behavior during the 2016 election.
“Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well,” a spokesman for Manafort reportedly said.
Experts following the case say the search for Manafort’s financial records represents a major turning point in the case. Manafort has apparently left a long trail of evidence, and he’s done a poor job covering it up.
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.
The government rarely prosecutes cases related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and Mr. Manafort’s consulting firm retroactively filed forms with the Justice Department last month to be in compliance with the act.
But the 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.
Earlier this summer, Paul Manafort was officially issued a subpoena by the U.S. Senate. Manafort is basically being forced to provide information to the Senate Judiciary Committee, after he previously tried to slip up investigators.
Manafort is finding himself right in the middle of all the legal scandals and controversies facing the Trump campaign and the White House administration. And now he’s trying to avoid taking accountability.
“Mr. Manafort, through his attorney, said that he would be willing to provide only a single transcribed interview to Congress, which would not be available to the Judiciary Committee members or staff,” the two senators said. “While the Judiciary Committee was willing to cooperate on equal terms with any other committee to accommodate Mr. Manafort’s request, ultimately that was not possible,” Senate Judiciary Committee leader Dianne Feinstein said, according to the Washington Times.