A raid on the home of US President Donald Trump's former 2016 election campaign manager last month is a sign that an investigation of possible ties between the campaign and Russian Federation is intensifying and is focused on the financial dealings of Trump associates. A Manafort spokesman confirmed the search Wednesday.
Manafort, whose lawyer had been Reginald Brown of the law firm WilmerHale, announced separately Thursday that he was returning to previous representation, the Miller & Chevalier law firm, a spokesman for Manafort said in a statement.
Miller & Chevalier's Richard Hibey has previously represented Manafort.
It was reported last month Manafort was in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined the Trump campaign past year.
The raid, which occurred without warning on July 26, signaled an aggressive new approach by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team in dealing with a key figure in the Russian Federation inquiry. While it explicitly authorized him to investigate "any links and/or coordination" between the Trump campaign and Moscow during the election, it also mandated Mueller to examine "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".
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In order to obtain the Manafort search warrant, special counsel Robert Mueller had to demonstrate to a judge probable cause that a crime or crimes had been committed.
Others close to Manafort have been pulled into the investigation: Manafort's son-in-law and occasional partner in real estate deals, Jeffrey Yohai, who's now being sued for fraud by a former investor, provided documents and information to investigators during a meeting in NY two months ago, CNN reported Thursday.
Mueller's investigation has gathered pace over recent weeks.
Asked if he had talked to Attorney General Jeff Sessions or anyone at the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the Manafort raid, Trump said he had not. Kian has not responded to multiple attempts to contact him over several months.
The former campaign chief earlier voluntarily had turned over documentation to the congressional committees pursuing the Russian Federation probe.
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Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman from March 2016 until August 2016.
On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that it was Manafort who tipped off authorities to Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer, citing people familiar with the matter. The interview was confined to that meeting.
Manafort produced about 400 pages, including his foreign agent advocacy paperwork.
The content of the documents was not immediately clear. "Haven't spoken to him for a long time, but I know him".
Judiciary committee leaders have also been in talks with Trump Jr. and Manafort about private interviews.
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