Today comes a new report that the Trump team was rattled by learning yesterday that the FBI had conducted a pre-dawn raid on the home of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and taking away boxes of stuff. The raid was presumably done at the request of Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating various charges involving the Trump campaign and Russian involvement in it plus matters arising from it.
Two things surprised me about this news. One is that the raid took place on July 26th, nearly two weeks ago, and yet news about it only came out yesterday? How can it be that in Washington, DC, a town that is riddled with gossip and leaks, no one gave the media information about this raid, not even Manafort’s neighbors? How could it possibly be the case that the White House, of all places, could be unaware of the raid for two weeks when it intimately concerned them?
The other thing is why these raids are conducted before dawn. If you are raiding someone who is likely to be armed and dangerous or might be tempted to destroy incriminating evidence, then it might make sense to do so in order to catch them unawares and by surprise so that they do not have time to resist or hide things. But Manafort is just an ordinary political hack who had already been questioned by Mueller, just the previous day in fact, and is cooperating with the investigation, so he would likely have destroyed anything that he felt he should long before now.
Is there some rule that says that such raids have to be as dramatic as possible, with government agents barging into homes in the dark? That does seem to be a consistent pattern, though in this case it is not clear if the agents were heavily armed or that the people in the house were forced to the ground while the search was made.