Details on the timing and manner of the raid on Paul Manafort’s apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 26 are raising suspicions over how the affair was handled. The FBI raided the apartment at 5 a.m. on a day they likely knew he would be in the apartment, which is not his primary residence.
Manafort, who was President Donald Trump’s second campaign manager, coming on board in March of 2016 to take over the crucial and complicated job of delegate counting before the Republican National Convention, owns several homes, according to property records. His main residence, according to reports, is his waterfront home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, just north of West Palm Beach. He also has a residence in Trump Tower, where the Trump campaign was headquartered.
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Manafort said last year that he hasn’t spent much time in the Washington, D.C., area in recent years. His memos to Trump’s longtime friend Tom Barrack were published in The New York Times on April 8, 2017: “I have had no client relationships dealing with Washington since around 2005. I have avoided the political establishment in Washington since 2005.”
A close associate, who asked not to be named, indicated that Manafort has spent little time at the apartment he owns in Alexandria, just south of Washington.
On July 25, The Washington Post reported that Manafort had met behind closed doors that morning with staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and that he had been subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee the following day, July 26, but that “late” July 25, the committee announced that it had withdrawn the subpoena, and would interview Manafort “at a later date.”
At 5 a.m. on July 26, FBI agents reportedly picked the lock on the front door of Manafort’s apartment in Alexandria and then, with guns drawn, kicked open the door of his bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife, Kathleen. The agents reportedly pointed guns at both, and Kathleen was subjected to a search, according to CNN.
The agents took copies of documents that Manafort had already turned over, Trump confidant Roger Stone said Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” and took photographs of everything in the apartment, including Manafort’s expensive, Italian suits. “What’s that about?” Stone asked rhetorically.
The raid lasted more than five hours, according to Stone.
Stone and Manafort both grew up in Connecticut, and both worked on Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign, Manafort as the southern coordinator between 1978 and 1980.
In 1980, the two formed the political consulting firm Black Manafort Stone and Kelly along with fellow Republican consultant Charlie Black and Democratic consultant Peter Kelly.
Stone was reportedly involved in recommending that Trump hire Manafort last spring as the campaign was struggling with the mechanics of the primary contests, and it was appearing as though Establishment Republicans were going to do what they could to stop Trump from getting the nomination.
At the time, Stone had touted Manafort on InfoWars as not just one of the best vote counters in American politics, but “The Best” — with experience winning delegate counts at Republican conventions going back to President Gerald Ford’s in 1976.
On Monday, CNN reported that two FISA warrants had been issued allowing intelligence agencies to spy on Manafort, who had worked as a consultant for Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine.
CNN reported that the surveillance of Manafort began in 2014, and that it was dropped because nothing was found, but that a second FISA warrant was issued for surveillance of Manafort that began after the November 8 election, continued through the Trump transition, when Manafort was in communication with President-elect Trump and other Trump advisers, and may still be continuing to this day.
Manafort has been told by the FBI that they already have an indictment for him, Stone said, mentioning money laundering and tax evasion.
“Now you have an instance in which [special counsel Robert] Mueller is attempting to pressure Manafort with some minor charge,” he told Ingraham on Wednesday, “find something, or find nothing and make it into something … money laundering, tax evasion, whatever, and then go to Manafort and say, ‘We know you were colluding with the Russians. Just admit it all and tell us Trump knew everything. In other words, be John Dean, be the rat. Of course is would all be fabrication … but … And we’ll let you go.'”
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“That’s where we are right now,” said Stone. “That’s why they kicked in the door of his house at 5 o’clock in the morning, treated him like a drug dealer, to take away documents that he’d already turned over through his attorney …”
“I don’t think Manafort is going to bear false witness against the president. I think there’s zero chance that he’s going to do it,” he said.
(photo credit, homepage image: disneyabc, Flickr)