Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, lashed out on Tuesday at reports he was wiretapped by federal authorities, and his spokesman sent out a statement demanding a leaks probe and suggesting the surveillance was politically motivated.
It was also learned on Tuesday that investigators working under the supervision of Special Counsel Robert Mueller are looking into Manafort’s activities dating back over a decade, CNN reported.
The report indicates that Mueller and his team of investigators are focusing beyond alleged links between Manafort and the Russian government.
In July, the FBI obtained a search warrant and raided Manafort’s home in Virginia.
Investigators were reportedly looking for evidence of alleged financial improprieties – including money laundering and tax evasion – committed as early as January 2006, according to CNN.
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, lashed out on Tuesday at reports he was wiretapped by federal authorities. He is seen above in this August 2016 file photo
It was reported that agents stormed the house with guns drawn while Manafort and his wife were in bed.
At one point, agents insisted on searching Kathleen Manafort for weapons – a standard practice in federal investigations.
The experience was a traumatic one which reportedly ‘jarred’ the Manaforts, according to CNN.
It is also an indication that Mueller wants to put pressure on Manafort to provide information that would aid his investigation.
Manafort served as Trump’s campaign manager between June and August 2016 and helped guide the candidate’s pivot from the Republican primary to the general election
Two weeks after the raid, in which the FBI seized financial records from Manafort’s home, a company used by Manafort for offshore business dealings received a $1.25million loan from a newly-formed shell company registered anonymously in Nevada, according to documents exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com.
Jesand LLC – which is owned by Manafort, his daughter Andrea, and his wife Kathleen – took out the $1.25million equity loan on Andrea’s home in lower Manhattan on August 7.
The home was first purchased a decade ago by Manafort and his daughter, through Jesand LLC.
The lender is a company called Woodlawn LLC, based in Carson City Nevada, which was formed on August 2, just one week before issuing the loan.
The company is registered to an anonymous agent service. The contract requires the $1.25million loan to be repaid in full by December 31, 2017.
Although Manafort’s name is not on the loan agreement, the ‘borrower’ is listed as Jesand LLC and the address is listed as the office of Bruce Baldinger, who is Manafort’s attorney.
It was also learned on Tuesday that investigators working under the supervision of Special Counsel Robert Mueller (seen above) are looking into Manafort’s activities dating back over a decade
Manafort’s spokesperson issued a statement Tuesday after CNN also reported that a secret court had authorized surveillance of Manafort under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), under which Americans can be targeted if they are suspected of acting as an agent of a foreign country.
Manafort became Trump’s campaign manager in June 2016 but was forced to resign two months later amid reports of his business relationship with the Kremlin-backed former Ukrainian leader, Viktor Yanukovich.
The court initially authorized FISA surveillance of Manafort in 2014 but that lapsed in 2016 for lack of evidence, CNN reported.
FISA surveillance resumed later in 2016 and continued into 2017 as part of the FBI’s probe into ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives, CNN said.
‘If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged,’ Maloni said in the statement on behalf of Manafort.
‘The US Department of Justice’s Inspector General should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent,’ he said.
The special counsel’s office and the FBI both declined to comment on Maloni’s statement.
They also did not comment on CNN’s original report about surveillance of Manafort.
Maloni urged the Justice Department to release any intercepts between Manafort and any non-Americans so people ‘can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ (Justice Department) – there is nothing there.’
As part of the special counsel’s probe, federal agents with search warrants raided Manafort’s Virginia home in July.
The New York Times, citing two people close to the case, reported on Monday that prosecutors later told Manafort they planned to indict him.
CNN said interest in Manafort deepened because of intercepted communications between him and Russian operatives, and among the Russians.
The government eavesdropping continued into 2017, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to Trump after he became president.
CNN said it was unclear if Trump was picked up on the surveillance.