Former Donald Trump campaign manager and suspected Russian cooperator Paul Manafort is in trouble. After his home was raided in July with a rare no-knock search warrant, Manafort was told by special counsel Robert Mueller that he was going to be indicted, according to the New York Times. Next comes news from CNN that Manafort was subjected to wiretapping by the US government both before and after the campaign, perhaps going back as far as 2014 and potentially including the period after Trump took office.
This means three big things for the future of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign people and Russian operatives.
- The FBI, in conducting the raid on Manafort’s Virginia home, first had to convince a federal judge to grant the warrant for the raid. This means they presented evidence that Manafort was guilty of a crime or that he was an acting as an agent of a foreign power.
- The tapes. The CNN story posits a long period of possible surveillance, much of which coincided with Manafort’s closest work on the Trump campaign and transition and almost certainly included direct contact between the president and Manafort.
- Cooperation. Manafort has good reason to cooperate with an investigation to gain leniency in any criminal charges he could face, a strong possibility especially in light of the judge granting raid permission.