WSJ: unnamed sources say Manafort in widening probe

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Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department requested banking records of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as part of a widening of probes related to President Donald Trump’s former campaign associates and whether they colluded with Russia in interfering with the 2016 election.

Allegedly, these unnamed people told WSJ reporters that federal investigators requested Manafort’s banking records from Citizens Financial Group Inc.

“Citizens gave Mr. Manafort a $2.7 million loan last year to refinance debt on a Manhattan condominium and borrow additional cash, New York City real-estate records show. The Wall Street Journal couldn’t ascertain if the Justice Department request is related to that transaction or whether the bank has turned over Mr. Manafort’s records,” according to the report.

The WSJ admitted that Manafort hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing and has said any suggestion that he coordinated with Russia is unfounded, and his spokesman, Jason Maloni, said, “I don’t know anything about a subpoena. But if someone is leaking details of a confidential investigation, that is a serious crime.”

Regardless, the Journal still doubled-down on it’s Russian witch-hunt, stating, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said it is scrutinizing whether Trump associates coordinated with Russian hackers in interfering with last year’s presidential campaign. Those associates include Mr. Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for a short time, former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and former advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page, according to the Journal and other outlets. A federal grand jury in Northern Virginia has issued subpoenas for records tied to Mr. Flynn, a person familiar with the matter has said.”

The report is peppered with statements such as, “None of the aides have been charged with any crime. All have denied any wrongdoing. Mr. Trump and his staff have dismissed allegations of Russian collusion and Russia has denied meddling in the election” while keeping a sinister undertone that suggest Manafort’s association with a “pro-Russia political party” as a political consultant means he may have been working with them in some capacity to undermine the presidential election.

Then it goes back to reporting that Manafort’s lawyer said the man “has offered to cooperate with and testify before congressional committees investigating potential Russian influence in the election.”

The Journal delves into past reports that Manafort “and immediate family members bought at least six properties in New York, Florida and Virginia for more than $16 million, property records show.” It even goes so far as to cite an NBC News report saying that Cyprus accounts associated with Manafort may have been investigated for possible money laundering, “and that he had closed them after questions were raised.”

In his defense, a Manafort spokesman disputed the paper’s charges and reiterated that “he hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing in connection with any of these matters.” But the Journal insists on citing those pesky “people familiar with the matter,” who claim that investigations into public records relating to Manafort’s real-estate and financial transactions “are at a very early stage.”

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