By: Kevin Daley
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team reportedly advised former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort that they plan to indict him after a July raid of his home in Alexandria, Va.
The New York Times reports that prosecutors and investigators under Mueller’s command warned Manafort that they plan to bring an indictment against him to a grand jury. The report is sourced to two individuals close to the investigation. Though The Times is not specific as to the nature of the charges, Manafort is under investigation for possible violations of tax laws and failure to abide by disclosure requirements relating to his lobbying work for Kremlin-aligned governments in eastern Europe.
The development is not unexpected, even within the sprawling network of former Trump aides and outside advisors. Several sources close to the president, including veterans of the campaign, told The Daily Caller early in September that they expect Manafort will be indicted for financial crimes like money-laundering or tax evasion.
Mueller has aggressively pursued Manafort and his associates in recent months, issuing subpoenas compelling testimony from spokesman Jason Maloni and Melissa Laurenza, formerly Manafort’s personal counsel. Though much of Laurenza’s work for Manafort is protected by attorney-client privilege, Mueller hopes to leverage several exceptions to the confidentiality duty to learn more about her work for the former Trump aide. He has also subpoenaed the heads of two D.C. lobbying shops who worked with Manafort in the past.
The subpoenas are somewhat unusual, as prosecutors usually question potential witnesses in informal settings prior to empaneling a grand jury. The flurry of subpoenas could be something of a blitz on Trump associates, in hopes of bludgeoning relevant witnesses into cooperation with the investigation. Investigators have even met with Manafort’s son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai, in hopes of turning him against his embattled father-in-law. The Times notes the tactic is typical of investigations of organized crime syndicates.
The report comes on the same day CNN learned that federal investigators obtained a FISA court order authorizing surveillance of Manafort’s communications between 2014 and 2016.