Fox News analyst Judge Napolitano said Thursday the FBI raid on Paul Manafort’s home was “much more aggressive” than tactics used in the Hillary Clinton investigation.
“This is so much more aggressive than the investigation of Mrs. [Clinton],” Napolitano said on “Fox and Friends.” “The investigation of Mrs. Clinton didn’t even use a grand Jury.”
Napolitano said there is most likely evidence of wrongdoing due to the rare nature of the pre-dawn raid. “They had to use this extraordinary tool of a pre-dawn raid, the most forceful thing the FBI can do to you, short of an arrest in the middle of the night,” he said. “Which they can only use when all other means of acquiring information have failed.”
“Probable cause means that FBI agents went to a federal judge in secret and persuaded her that it was more likely than not that in Mr. Manafort’s house they would find evidence of a crime,” he added.
Napolitano wouldn’t say if the FBI would find a smoking gun and left room for the possibility that special counsel was looking for evidence of Manafort’s private financial dealings. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are also investigating Manafort for fraud, based on real estate deals and millions in suspicious bank loans.
“They may very well have been looking for something totally independent of Manafort’s relationship to the president,” Napolitano said. “It could have been personal, it could have been his taxes. Was he being paid money by a foreign power at a time that he wasn’t registered as a foreign agent?”
Napolitano suggested Mueller was fishing for any evidence of wrongdoing to force Manafort to flip, becoming a witness for the state in the Russia probe.
“The more people they can bring in and hold the sword over them … that’s the way they put together the puzzle of a case against whoever their true target is. Whether it’s President Trump or somebody else,” Napolitano said. “A federal judge would not authorize this extraordinary tool without something there.”