Paul Manafort was put under surveillance by the FBI, according to CNN, in a story that confirms much of my earlier reporting on Mr. Manafort. CNN concedes that items were recovered from a storage facility owned by Manafort:
As part of the FISA warrant, CNN has learned that earlier this year, the FBI conducted a search of a storage facility belonging to Manafort. It’s not known what they found.
I had exclusively broken this news on August 5th on Twitter:
This was an addendum to my exclusive report, dated May 31, that Mr. Manafort’s apartment had been searched ‘by consent’ at Trump Tower by U.S. Marshals on Friday, 19th June, as soon as Air Force One went wheels-up taking Trump to Saudi Arabia. I reported then that this search found nothing, but, at the request of sources, did not say why.
I can now add to my reporting that this was because U.S. Marshals and the FBI knew that Mr. Manafort had transferred these items to a storage space he controls in Florida (journalists should note the location is not reported by WSJ). Sources familiar with the matter report the location was thought to be here:
My own research located this facility as Document Storage Systems, Inc, of Juno Beach in Florida.
It is important to note that the Wall Street Journal has reported that the FBI had a warrant to read ‘electronically stored communications’ or emails after Manafort “left” the Trump campaign.
But armed with a warrant, investigators still could have conducted clandestine surveillance of Mr. Manafort, possibly by obtaining copies of his emails and other electronically stored communications, or by having agents follow him or conduct physical searches of his property.
This reporting tends to confirm my own reporting, namely that agents knew exactly where Manafort was storing paper documents or any electronic items he removed from his apartment. By October 15th, when the FISA warrants on money laundering from the two Russian banks were obtained, which included permission to intercept U.S. persons in relation to the inquiry – Manafort included – the FBI could also hear Mr. Manafort talking.
It is important to note that in saying that agents observed Manafort removing items to Florida, my sources did not exclude the possibility of Manafort having more than one storage space for more than one type of item. There may well have been others in Florida and in other states; but this, my sources reported, was one of them. Clearly the building is marked as a ‘document storage’ facility. Sources also said that electronic items, possibly servers, were removed from Mr. Manafort’s apartment in advance of the ‘by consent’ search on May 19th, and that these items were also stashed in a separate storage facility.
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