Last night Rachel Maddow mentioned some really interesting information about the interplay between the three separate “investigations” going on into Trump and his collusion/cooperation with Russia. First, there is some controversy over the intent of these investigations. Obviously, Mueller intends to “get to the truth” and very little information has been “leaked” The other two committees investigating are the House Intelligence Committee and The Senate Intelligence committee. Both are Bipartisan committees. Although some of the members of these committees want to “get to the truth” others have been known to be a pipeline to president Trump! No one case exemplifies this interplay than the situation with Paul Manafort who became an early “Guinnea Pig”in this experiment.
Mueller conceivably already had some interest in Paul Manafort as a player, because of known information on his Foreign Agent activities. including receiving “black money” from Ukraine, and court documents from Ukrainians and Oleg Deripaska , a Russian oligarch who tried to sue him (and recently renewed that effort) and due to him being under a FISA Warrant, surveillance was carried out on him prior and after, but not during the election. What information was gleaned from this surveillance is unclear at this point. Trump has been known to talk to Paul Manafort after his departure in August of 2016 from his official role and Pence as well so it is likely something incriminating was captured.
Paul Manafort testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in July of 2017. He testimony was scheduled for the following day originally.
Late Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced it had withdrawn a subpoena that had been issued to compel Manafort to appear Wednesday
Unlike former Trump staffers who have declined to answer questions during these meetings, Paul Manafort answered all questions completely, according to the Washington Post.
Paul Manafort provided his notes from the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower that Steve Bannon later stated in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” was “bad” and “treasonous” and testified about the contents of the meeting itself apparently, although that testimony was not made publicly.
For some reason, Paul Manafort told his lawyers not to share the testimony before congress with Mueller. This must have been pretty quick if not coordinated with the testimony itself, since the very next very early morning Paul Manafort’s personal home was raided, famously. The FBI agents reportedly picked the lock, frisked his wife, took photos of his suits, and copied drives from various devices and computers. What a wake up call! That’s definitely a “knock knock” that sent a message. What’s lesser known is his office and a storage area were also raided.
Paul Manafort felt he was cooperating, if not being entirely forthcoming. It seems Mueller was concerned about evidence being given to Trump via these committees, especially if he is not able to see it. Why Paul Manafort was not willing to hand over his Congress to Mueller is open to speculation. It stands to reason there was something in this testimony that was sensitive. After all this supposed cooperation, was Manafort suddenly becoming obstinate? As a lawyer by training, he would know that he doesn’t have to answer their questions. It could be Trump was caught off guard and was not able to tell Paul Manafort not to talk to the investigators. Possibly Trump did threaten him in some way, but if so that would have to happen pretty quickly if not during the testimony.
Later, Trump himself did apparently retaliate against Manafort for disclosing this information (whatever it was) by publishing an “expose” on his rumored affair with a young woman in the National Enquirer published in August of 2017.
At this point, Paul Manafort is safely locked away on house arrest, so it appears Mueller has reached his goal, “Preserve and Protect”.