FBI Has Been Breathing Down Manafort’s Neck Since Long Before the Trump Campaign

Paul Manafort, President Trump Campaign Director

Documents filed in the federal prosecution of Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, indicate the FBI had an interest in Manafort’s dealings long before his association with President Trump’s campaign.

The documents, which are available here, are attached an as exhibit to a memorandum of law which provides the government’s response to Manafort’s attempts to suppress evidence. The documents say Manafort had been interviewed by the FBI in March 13, 2013 and July 30, 2014. He didn’t join the campaign until March 2016 and didn’t serve as campaign manager until June 2016. He left as campaign manager two months later, in August. Manafort’s business partner, Richard Gates III, was also interviewed before Manafort’s ties to the Trump campaign. The Gates interview occurred July 2, 2014.

Investigators were also interested in pre-campaign testimony by both Manafort and Gates in a federal court matter involving two individuals who were serving as liquidators of Pericles Emerging Market Partners, a Cayman Islands limited partnership. A federal district court was asked to step in under a statute that allows U.S. courts to collect testimony or documents for use in foreign courts. Apparently, Manafort and Gates said something interesting when asked to give testimony on a series of dates in November and December, 2015. The names of others who were similarly interviewed in that case are redacted from the documents in the current prosecution.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller charged Manafort and Gates with a series of crimes, including tax crimes and bank fraud, related to their alleged work as unregistered agents of a foreign government, namely the Ukraine, and various political figures there. Gates pleaded guilty of conspiracy and of lying to investigators. He is now helping the Mueller investigation.

The Washington Post drew the following link between the revelations of the previous FBI interviews and the Trump campaign:

The information raises fresh questions about how closely the Trump campaign vetted staff members and whether Manafort and Gates told officials about their interactions with the FBI.

[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.]

Aaron Keller is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."

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