Did Trump Know The FBI Raided Paul Manafort's Home? He Wanted The Agency's Director Fired
According to a report from The Washington Post on Wednesday, FBI agents raided Paul Manafort's home in the early hours of July 26 in connection to the Russia investigation. Just hours later, President Trump called to replace the FBI Director Andrew McCabe in a handful of tweets. "Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!" tweeted Trump.
While there's technically no proof that Trump knew of Manafort's home being raided by the FBI, the timing is notable. Particularly because not only was Manafort Trump's former campaign manager, but he was also reportedly present at Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016.
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni confirmed with ABC News that "documents and materials" were seized in the raid, and released a statement that read: "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."
Trump's tweet calling for McCabe's replacement was swiftly turned into action. On August 1 the Senate confirmed Christopher Wray as the new FBI Director in a 92-5 vote.
On July 25, the day before his Alexandria home was raided by FBI agents, Manafort met with the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss the June 2016 meeting he attended alongside Jared Kushner, Trump Jr., and the Russian lawyer Vesenitskaya. The meeting was scheduled because Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, and more specifically, her presidential campaign.
During the meeting, Manafort gave investigators his notes from the Trump Tower meeting. While the content of those notes remain concealed from the public, reports signal that Manafort has been cooperative throughout the investigation process. "Paul Manafort met this morning, by previous agreement, with the bipartisan staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and answered their questions fully," spokesman Maloni said in a statement.
While Trump's call to replace FBI Director McCabe came just hours after Manafort's home was raided, there is yet to be firm evidence the president knew of the invasion. It's also worth noting that while McCabe was running the burea, he was not in charge of the Russia investigation. Those responsibilities lie with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Still, the swift call to replace the 31-year FBI veteran (who had no involvement in the Clinton investigation) could speak to a larger sense of urgency surrounding the Russian probe.
The newly confirmed FBI Director Wray served as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division under the Bush administration before becoming a litigation partner with King and Spalding. He assumed office on August 2.