The FBI team, led by special counsel Robert Meuller, first discovered about the meeting of Donald Trump Jr. with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya through #Paul Manafort, the chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign. The June 9 meeting at Trump Tower was included in the 300 documents that Manafort provided the FBI, The New York Daily News reported.

Despite the documents that Manafort handed over, FBI agents nevertheless raided his house in Virginia two weeks ago, likely because investigators feel he did not turn over everything. It means the FBI knew of the Donald Jr., meeting with the Russians as early as early as May, which the president’s namesake admitted to only July.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Manafort and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, were also at the same meeting.

Hot on their trail

Bloomberg, which was the first to report on the Russian meeting information coming from Manafort, said that Mueller’s team sent subpoenas to global banks to acquire the account information and transaction records of Manafort and some of his companies. The probe includes Rick Gates, a long-time business partner of Manafort, and Jeffrey Yohai, the son-in-law of Manafort. Like Manafort, Yohai provided the FBI documents two months ago regarding the real estate deals with his father-in-law.

Jason Maloni, the spokesperson for Manafort, confirmed the FBI raid on the Virginia residence of the ex-chairman of Trump’s campaign. Maloni also issued a statement on Thursday saying that Manafort -- who is not a cooperating witness in the Russian probe – replaced the law firm WilmerHale with a new one, Miller & Chevalier.

Advertisements

Based in DC, Miller & Chevalier is focused on tax law and complicated financial crimes, according to Politico. Manafort’s decision to drop WilmerHale was because Mueller used to be connected with that law firm.

Maloni disclosed in the statement that Miller & Chevalier was Manafort’s former counsel. Part of the team that will provide Manafort legal advice is Kevin Downing, a former senior official at the Department of Justice, who as a member of the boutique law firm, had represented clients and companies that faced complex financial cases.

CMZ Ventures

It was not only Manafort’s legal team that were caught unaware by the FBI raid on his house but also President Donald Trump. “I’ve always found Manafort to be a very decent man,” Trump was quoted as saying. Manhattan federal prosecutors, however, think otherwise because they have probed allegations that Manafort allegedly was engaged in the laundering of money into New York properties from Eastern Europe.

The probe was into CMZ Ventures, a business backed by Manafort that planned to develop a luxury tower on Park Avenue in 2008.

Advertisements

Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian businessman, was supposed to invest $25 million in the project, but he never did and the venture closed the following year. The real purpose of the venture, according to the plaintiffs, was to launder money that Firtash obtained illegally by skimming natural gas sales to Ukraine. #Russian investigation #Robert Mueller