Two of the biggest stories of the Russian investigation broke on Monday. The New York Times dropped an absolute bombshell about the details of the Manafort raid. The FBI executed a no-knock search warrant at a Virginia residence owned by Manafort. The reason they executed the search warrant in this fashion may have been due to fears that Manafort would destroy evidence. Prosecutors told Manafort that he would be indicted.
Let me repeat, prosecutors told Manafort that he would be indicted. This wasn’t a formal indictment, nor an arrest, but I seriously doubt a law enforcement veteran as decorated and sober as Robert Mueller would make a threat to such a high-profile target that he couldn’t back up. I’d be stunned if they didn’t have him dead to rights at this point.
But I can understand why they’re still pressuring Paul. CNN reported that Manafort was wiretapped before and after the election. Critical details about the investigation emerged in this story. Another FBI raid was conducted against Manafort, this time on a storage facility. And during the time he was wiretapped, Manafort and Trump continued to have conversations until lawyers for both men insisted they stop.
This is a massive, massive development. For the first time, we learn that there may be hard, documented evidence of Trump on tape (like Nixon before him) where he discusses his involvement in a federal crime. If the FBI has a “smoking gun” tape on Trump, then perhaps their investigation is working backwards from there and the heat on Manafort is to flip him or get the evidence that will prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt because he was the one on tape with Trump and can provide context for their conversation.
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni is calling for a release of the wiretapping evidence to “prove Manafort’s innocence.” This is the exact strategy that landed another corrupt pol, Rod Blagojevich, in prison for more than a decade. If there’s no way out legally for Manafort, and there may not be if he’s charged with financial crimes at the state level in New York, he’ll either have to face the prospect of possibly living out his life in prison or flipping on Trump.
Who knows what he’ll do. But for those who have asked for divine intervention when it comes to documentation of Trump, prayers may have been answered.