It as revealed this week that FBI led a search at Manafort’s residence
Manafort has now tapped a new legal team to represent him
Government lawyers continue examining possible Russian meddling in the election
WASHINGTON, U.S. - Trump’s former campaign chief, Paul Manafort has reportedly tapped a new legal team to represent him, days after it was revealed that FBI led a raid at his residence in Washington’s northern Virginia suburbs.
Manafort’s house was raided in the unusual operation by the FBI, a day after he met with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigators on July 26.
The raid led to the seizure of some materials as part of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Earlier this week, Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort said in a statement, "FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort's residences. Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well.”
Maloni confirmed on Thursday that Manafort had hired a new legal team as government lawyers extend their investigation into the possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Maloni said that law firm WilmerHale had been speaking on Manafort's behalf to investigators, but that that relationship has ended.
In a statement, he said, “As of today, WilmerHale no longer represents Mr. Manafort. Mr. Manafort is in the process of retaining his former counsel, Miller & Chevalier, to represent him in the office of special counsel investigation.”
Previously, Miller & Chevalier's Richard Hibey has represented Manafort.
Hibey’s other clients include CIA officer Clair George, who was convicted in 1992 of making false statements to Congress about the Reagan administration's secret arms sales to Iran.
Meanwhile, addressing reporters on Thursday, Trump distanced himself from Manafort slightly, saying initially that the former campaign chairman was "with the campaign ... for a very short period of time" — but then also saying he was "very, very surprised to see" the news of the raid.
Trump said, “I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man. And he's like a lot of other people — probably makes consultant fees from all over the place. Who knows. I don’t know, but I thought it was pretty tough stuff to wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that's pretty tough stuff."
Trump then insisted that he has not considered firing Mueller.
"I haven't given it any thought. Well, I've been reading about it from you people. You say, 'Oh, I'm going to dismiss him.' No, I'm not dismissing anybody. I mean, I want them to get on with the task. We're working with him," he added.
Further, late on Thursday, reports noted that U.S. special counsel's team of investigators had sent subpoenas from a Washington grand jury to global banks for account information and records of transactions involving Manafort.
Sources revealed that the subpoenas, sent in recent weeks, seeks such information as it pertains to some of Manafort's companies and a longtime business partner, Rick Gates.
Further, reports noted that Mueller has reached out to other business associates, including Manafort's son-in-law and a Ukrainian oligarch.
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