One of President Trump’s lawyers is accusing Special Counsel Robert Mueller of “a gross abuse of the judicial process” for conducting an early morning raid at the home of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort last month.
John Dowd, the Trump lawyer, also asserted that the July 26 raid was “employed for its shock value to try to intimidate Mr. Manafort.”
“These methods are normally found and employed in Russia not America,” he wrote in an email to a Wall Street Journal reporter. For reasons unexplained, Fox News obtained the email and published its contents.
Dowd’s comments are a notable shift from his praise for Mueller earlier this week. Dowd told USA Today on Tuesday that he has sent messages of “appreciation” on behalf of Trump to Mueller, a former FBI director leading the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. (RELATED: Trump Has Sent Messages Of ‘Appreciation’ To Mueller)
“We get along well with Bob Mueller; our communications have been constructive,” Dowd told USA Today. “But it is important that our communications remain confidential. It’s important that there not be any breakdown in that trust.”
But Dowd’s view of Mueller appears to have shifted dramatically after The Washington Post broke the story that FBI agents conducted a “no knock” raid of Manafort’s Alexandria, Va. home on July 26, a day after the former Trump campaign chairman met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The New York Times reported that agents seized banking and financial records regarding Manafort’s consulting work for foreign governments. The raid shows that Mueller is looking into other possible criminal activity besides campaign collusion with the Russian government.
The raid has also stoked speculation that Mueller hopes to build a case against Manafort in hopes of getting him to flip on Trump.
According to Fox News, Dowd called the raid “a gross abuse of the judicial process,” while questioning the legality of Mueller’s search warrant.
“These failures by Special Counsel to exhaust less intrusive methods is a fatal flaw in the warrant process and would call for a Motion to Suppress the fruits of the search.”
He said that Mueller “misrepresented” the necessity of the warrant to a federal judge, raising “a host of issues involving the accuracy of the warrant application and the supporting FBI affidavit.”
The Post reported that the office of the special counsel sought the search warrant by arguing to a federal judge that Manafort was likely withholding documents relevant to the investigation.
But Dowd asserted that many of the seized documents contained “privileged and confidential materials prepared for Mr. Manafort by his counsel to aid him in his cooperation with the Congressional committees.”
“Thus, it appears the Search Warrant here was obtained by a gross abuse of the judicial process by the Special Counsel’s office,” he said in the email, according to Fox News.