In the early morning hours of July 26, FBI agents raided the Alexandria, Virginia home of Paul Manafort (shown), who had served as the manager of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign last year.
Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, stated,“FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort’s residences. Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well."
The agents were executing a warrant obtained by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as part of his probe into the alleged interference by the Russian government in last year’s presidential campaign. Manafort has been under investigation by the FBI since 2014 for his work on behalf of the Party of Regions of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of the Russians.
Mueller is utilizing an army of 16 lawyers in his probe, and has empaneled a grand jury which can issue subpoenas for business and financial records. It is thought that Mueller sees Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian political leader in Ukraine, where Manafort lived for seven years, as a potential link to collusion with Russian officials in the 2016 presidential campaign. (After losing power, Yanukovych fled to Russia.)
Duke law school professor Samuel Buell said it “confirms, beyond doubt,” a “serious, criminal investigative focus on Manafort.”
Manafort was present when Donald Trump, Jr., met with a female Russian lawyer last year at Trump Tower who had indicated that she had some negative information to share with him on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
While the mainstream media has been unrelenting in its insinuations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government in their alleged “hacking” into Democratic e-mails and the like, they have said little to nothing about what was in the e-mails. For example, one e-mail released by WikiLeaks in the files of John Podesta, Clinton's campaign manager, provided proof that Democrat Party leader Donna Brazile was actually informing the Clinton campaign as to what questions she would be asked in the presidential debates with Trump. According to the Roger Stone in his book The Making of the President 2016, Brazile told Podesta, “One of the questions directed to HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] tomorrow is from a woman with a rash.” Brazile gave Podesta details to pass on to Clinton: “Her family has lead poisoning and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the [people] of Flint [Michigan].”
Can one imagine the media interest if it was discovered that a Republican nominee had been fed a question prior to a debate on the Fox News Network?
Apparently, to the mainstream media, like Brazile’s then-employer CNN, what is important is not that the Clinton campaign was being handed an unfair advantage by one of the network’s employees, but that the information allegedly was unearthed by “the Russians.” Brazile left CNN to take over as the interim chairman of the Democratic National Committee. She replaced Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who had resigned after other released e-mails demonstrated that the DNC under Schultz was giving an unfair advantage to Clinton in her bid for the nomination.
According to Reuters, “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 Ukrainians['] politics.”
Manafort took over as Trump’s campaign manager during Trump’s battle with Texas Senator Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination. Cruz had defeated Trump in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Colorado, and many delegates were sliding over into the Cruz column. Stone wrote in The Making of the President 2016 that he told Trump he could still lose. In fact, he wrote, “If Manafort had waited one week or two to join the Trump campaign, it may have faltered and failed.”
A concerned Trump asked Stone what could be done to stop the Cruz surge, and win enough delegates to capture the nomination on the first ballot. It appeared at the time that if it went to a second ballot, “disaster” awaited Trump, said Stone. He said he told Trump to contact his former partner, Paul Manafort, saying, "He knows more about convention politics than anyone in America.”
Manafort is credited with helping President Gerald Ford stave off the challenge of Ronald Reagan at the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City.
Stone said that Manafort, a “lifetime adversary of Karl Rove” back to their days in the Young Republicans together, “transformed [Trump’s] unruly and weak primary campaign into a team that could beat the Clinton juggernaut.”
While Manafort no doubt was critical to the success of Trump in both the primaries over Cruz and in the general election against Clinton, Mueller evidently believes that Manafort used his connections with the Russians to hack into the computers at the DNC and the Clinton campaign to defeat her. With a huge budget and staff, the backing of the American media, the Democratic Party, and even some Establishment Republicans, it appears he has many people who he hopes can find something criminal to topple President Trump.
Photo of Paul Manafort: AP Images