FBI raids former Trump campaign adviser's home as part of Russia probe

FBI raids former Trump campaign adviser's home as part of Russia probe

The FBI searched the home of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in July as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in last year's election.

Manafort has denied any wrongdoing.

The search warrant was wide-ranging, the newspaper described.

Spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement that FBI agents had obtained a warrant and searched one of Manafort's homes, but he would not say when the search occurred. That investigation has been incorporated into the probe led by Mueller, who is also scrutinizing Manafort's role in the Trump campaign as he looks into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump associates.

He's called it a "phony Russian Witch Hunt" and the "Russia hoax" story.

Trump also tried to minimize his relationship with Manafort, saying Manafort only ran the campaign for "a very short period of time". When investigating a situation that may involve both high-ranking officials and rank-and-file underlings, it's important to start somewhere in the middle.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former U.S. attorney, called the search "a significant and even stunning development", noting that such raids are generally reserved for "the most serious criminal investigations dealing with uncooperative or untrusted potential targets". Manafort recently spoke with staff of the Senate Intelligence committee about a June 2016 meeting he attended with Donald Trump Jr.

The committee has said it wants to investigate Fusion GPS' role in the creation of the dossier.

Of course, the Manafort inquiry is just one thread of Mueller's multifaceted effort, which includes the purchase of Trump real estate properties by wealthy Russians going back a decade, the foreign ties of Michael Flynn, who was briefly the administration's National Security Adviser, and the dismissal of FBI chief James Comey by the President.

A spokesman for Mueller's office, Joshua Stueve, declined to comment.

As part of the FBI probe, agents also have been asking witnesses since the spring about $530,000 worth of lobbying and investigative work carried out by Flynn's firm, Flynn Intel Group, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Information for this article was contributed by Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, Philip Rucker, Matt Zapotosky and Julie Tate of The Washington Post; by Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman of The New York Times; by Chad Day and Eric Tucker of The Associated Press; and by Steven T. Dennis of Bloomberg News.