hile Donald Trump and his surrogates were loudly campaigning against Robert Mueller on Twitter and on TV, the special counsel and his team of F.B.I. investigators has been quietly building their case, the details of which burst into public view Wednesday when The Washington Post reported that the bureau searched the home of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a dramatic pre-dawn raid at the end of last month.
The raid, which occurred one day after Manafort met with the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicates that the Justice Department investigation has entered a heightened stage—and that Mueller is willing to use any investigative tools at his disposal to determine the extent of the Russian government’s interference in the presidential election.“I think it adds a shock and awe enforcement component to what until now has followed a natural path for a white-collar investigation,” Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor, told the Post. “More so than anything else we’ve seen so far, it really does send a powerful law enforcement message when the search warrant is used. . . . That message is that the special counsel team will use all criminal investigative tools available to advance the investigation as quickly and as comprehensively as possible.” (Manafort has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.)
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