According to Trump, former FBI Director James Comey had repeatedly reassured him that he was not under any FBI investigation before his ouster. But at the time the president was making the revelation in an interview with NBC News on Thursday, the FBI had just raided a GOP office in Annapolis, MD, which is closely tied to Trump campaign.
Office Tied to Controversial Trump Aides
According to a local news channel, the office of the Strategic Campaign Group is linked to GOP adviser Scott B. Mackenzie, a controversial figure that managed the funds for several political action committees. Mackenzie has caught investigators’ attention amid allegations that instead on spending the funds on candidates he funneled the donations to campaign advisers.
People familiar with the matter said the FBI raid was coordinated from Washington. Federal agents used trash bags to cover the office’s windows, and one of them was seen wearing surgical gloves during the operation, witnesses said.
The Strategic Campaign Group is linked to another controversial Trump aide that worked for his campaign, Paul Manafort. According to multiple reports, Manafort served as a middleman between the Trump campaign and Russia leader Vladimir Putin.
Manafort’s Pro-Russia Record
Before Trump hired him, Manafort had lobbied on behalf of Moscow in Western Europe advocating for Russia’s interests, the AP reported. Manafort had also worked as counsel to disgraced Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia following a democratic uprising in his home country. Yanukovych and Manafort are sought by Ukrainian authorities to be tried in a corruption scandal.
As a Ukrainian lawmaker revealed, Manafort helped pro-Russian parties in Ukraine hid hundreds of thousands in questionable payments from Ukrainian authorities. During the 2016 RNC, Manafort is believed to have lobbied the Republican party on behalf of Russia to change its platform and not arm Ukraine against the Russian aggression.
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