FBI raids ex-Trump campaign chief's house over Russia probe
The FBI raided Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's residence in Virginia, on July 26, Manafort's spokesman has confirmed. The raid, which was a part of an investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the US election, came a day after Manafort voluntarily testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Manafort had quit the Trump campaign after questions were raised over his foreign ties.
Feds took away "documents and other materials"
The Washington Post reported that FBI agents took away "documents and other materials" from Manafort's residence. They were acting on a search warrant from independent special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is leading the FBI investigation into Russia's election interference and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Investigators were reportedly seeking Manafort's tax documents and foreign bank account records.
Manafort claims he's cooperating with law enforcement
"FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr Manafort's residences," Manafort spokesman, Jalon Malobi, said it a statement. "Mr Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well."
Raid suggests Russia investigation is gathering steam
Manafort is a key figure in the Russia investigation and is reportedly being targeted as someone who might testify against his former colleagues. The timing of the raid could indicate that Manafort "did not cooperate fully with the Senate Intelligence Committee and had not turned over all the documents relevant to this investigation," said Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett. Manafort denies any wrongdoing.
Search warrant indicates crime may have been committed
The search warrant's use indicates that the FBI managed to convince a judge that there was probable cause suggesting a crime may have been committed. Investigators are focusing on a June 2016 meeting Manafort attended with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and son Donald Trump Jr., with a Russian lawyer. The lawyer falsely claimed she had damaging information on Trump's rival Hillary Clinton.