It’s official. NBC is now reporting that Donald Trump’s campaign management has fallen under the scrutiny of an FBI inquiry, which is sure to blossom into a formal criminal investigation centered on Trump’s disgraced ex-manager Paul Manafort’s stewardship of the Republican campaign and his close ties to Ukraine. When he departed, Manafort was facing felony charges, and now the FBI’s suspicions have been confirmed by the evidence.
New York Times found Ukrainian documents which outlined $12.7 million in previously unreported payments from a Ukrainian political party to Manafort, precipitating his departure from the campaign.
The FBI has been conducting a preliminary inquiry into Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s foreign business connections, law enforcement and intelligence sources told NBC News Monday. Word of the inquiry, which has not blossomed into a full-blown criminal investigation, comes just days after FBI Director James Comey’s disclosure that his agency is examining a new batch of emails connected to an aide to Hillary Clinton.
Trump has taken a series of pro-Russian positions that experts from both parties say are far outside the mainstream, and inexplicable from a political viewpoint. He continues to cast doubt on Russian involvement in election hacking, for example, despite the intelligence community’s public assessment.
Just last night, we reported that Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued a statement alleging that the FBI had spoken of, “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.” Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings told CNN this morning that members of Congress in the Democratic minority have actively requested that the FBI look into the various news reports that Trump’s campaign, guided by Manafort, had drifted into Putin’s orbit.
“Any specifics of what the FBI or intelligence agencies may be looking at are not something that the bureau should be discussing publicly.” ranking Democratic Congressman on the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said, “But here, where the director has discussed an investigation involving one candidate, it opens the director up to claims of bias if he doesn’t discuss other potential investigations.”
That’s right, in a misguided pursuit of fairness, the FBI Director may have just trashed decades of investigatory policy and been forced to disclose the existence of their active inquiry into the Trump campaign.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.