Mueller Team Sought Comms On Trump Tower Meeting In Manafort Raid

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his wife Kathleen arrive at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates both pleaded not guilty last year to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

Prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller revealed in court filings Monday night that the FBI agents who raided former Trump campaign aide Paul Manafort’s home in July 2017 were searching for information on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, among other documents.

In a filing arguing that the FBI’s search warrant for Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, was valid, prosecutors listed the items they were looking for. On the list was any correspondence with those who attended the Trump Tower meeting, as well as any communication with “Aras and Amin Agalorov.” The publicist for the younger Agalarov arranged the Trump Tower meeting, and the Agalarovs worked with President Donald Trump on the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.

In their searches of Manafort’s home and storage unit, agents were also looking for financial and tax records and communications related to his work in Ukraine. Manafort faces several charges stemming from his lobbying work for a Ukrainian political party, but no campaign official has yet to face charges stemming from the Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer. The meeting pitched to the Trump campaign with a promise of damaging information about the Hillary Clinton campaign as part of Russia’s effort to help Donald Trump.

Mueller’s team also submitted filings that list some of the items they seized from Manafort’s home. The list included several redacted pages, but showed that they searched at least eight email addresses and at least three bank accounts.

They also obtained transcripts and videos of testimony that Manafort and his associate Rick Gates gave in 2015 during a business dispute with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripeska.

The revelations on the FBI’s search warrants came in court filings arguing that the warrants to search Manafort’s home and storage unit were valid. Manafort’s lawyers are asking the judge in the Washington, D.C. case to dismiss evidence obtained from the searches, arguing that they were illegal.

Lawyers for Mueller revealed new details about a Manafort employee who gave an agent access to a storage unit containing Manafort’s business documents. The court filing revealed that agents only viewed the content of the storage unit at that time and learned that the employee’s name was listed on the lease, showing that the employee had the authority to grant agents access. The FBI then obtained a search warrant before seizing any records from Manafort’s storage unit.

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