National Security

Manafort interviewed twice by FBI prior to joining Trump campaign

Greg Nash

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was interviewed twice by FBI agents prior to joining the campaign, according to court filings on Tuesday.

One meeting in 2014 was first reported in February by BuzzFeed News, but court filings also show a meeting with FBI agents that occurred the year before, as FBI agents reportedly interviewed Manafort about his work in Ukraine.

{mosads}A former FBI official told BuzzFeed in February that Manafort denied knowledge about money stolen by the government of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and promised to turn over documents. He never did, according to the report.

“We had him in 2014,” a former official told the website. “In hindsight, we could have nailed him then.”

Manafort is charged with money laundering and bank fraud alongside with his business associate, Richard Gates, related to their lobbying work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Gates pleaded guilty earlier this year.

The two are just a few of the former Trump associates ensnared in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Manafort stepped down as Trump campaign chairman in August 2016 amid a flurry of reports about his lobbying work in Ukraine, including reports that he received more than $12 million in off-the-record payments from Yanukovych’s party.

Tuesday’s filing came in the form of a memorandum of opposition to Manafort’s motion to suppress evidence gathered by FBI agents during a raid of his Virginia residence last year.

Manafort has denied multiple charges against him, as well as accusations that he was involved in a scheme to coordinate with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

Tags Donald Trump presidential campaign Paul Manafort Robert Mueller Russia Investigation Special counsel Ukraine

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