FBI Warrants Served — Republican Consultant Offices Searched, Reports Say [Updated]

Editor’s note: Recently, a story based on a source associated with Claude Taylor was debunked as a hoax by the Guardian and disavowed by Taylor. In light of this, we advise any information derived from sources provided by Claude Taylor to be viewed in the light cast by this revelation.

Just two days after Donald Trump suddenly, and in shocking fashion, fired FBI Director James Comey, at least one search warrant was executed Tuesday morning at a Republican political consulting firm in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Annapolis, Maryland, according to a report by Baltimore’s WBAL TV News. While it has not been confirmed if the warrant is connected to the investigation of possible Trump-Russia collusion during the 2016 presidential election, there are documented links between the firm and Trump associates.

Comey was leading the FBI investigation into alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, but the future of that investigation, which could target Trump himself, is now in doubt after Trump fired the FBI chief.

The firm, Strategic Campaign Group, in addition to campaign consulting, also performs fundraising activities for GOP candidates. On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee placed a request with the Treasury Department financial intelligence unit for documents relating to Trump, according to a CNBC report.

That unit, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, investigates money laundering operations, among other financial offenses. In 2010, FinCEN slapped Trump through his Taj Mahal casino with a $10 million civil fine as a result of multiple money laundering violations, the CNBC report noted.

The firm hit with a search warrant Thursday has links both to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as to Trump’s company Trump Entertainment Resorts. Dennis Whitfield, who is listed as a senior advisor at Strategic Campaign Group, was also a director of the political consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly in which both Manafort and another longtime Trump advisor, Roger Stone, were founding partners.

Strategic Campaign Group and its president Kelley Rogers — a longtime Republican political consultant — were registered lobbyists for the casino firm Penn National Gaming, which paid $1 billion to buy a gaming company run by James B. Perry, who went on to lead Trump Entertainment resorts, according to documents uncovered by journalist Beth Brigham.

Strategic Campaign Group was also accused in 2014 of running a “malicious scam PAC operation” as part of the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial campaign of republican Ken Cuccinelli, according to the Washington Post.

Rogers told The Baltimore Sun on Thursday that the FBI investigation stems from allegations made in the Cuccinelli case, which was a civil lawsuit, one that has since been settled.

Watch a WBAL report on the FBI raid against Strategic Campaign Group in the video below.

The search warrant served at Strategic Campaign Group may be one of several warrants served out of the Eastern District of Virginia U.S. Attorney’s office, according to online reports by Claude Taylor, a former White House staffer under President Bill Clinton who has been citing unnamed sources for his Twitter revelations regarding the Trump Russia investigation for the past few months.

It was Taylor who first published a report about three weeks ago — a claim widely dismissed at the time — that federal grand juries had been empaneled to investigate the Trump-Russia affair in the Eastern District of Virginia and in New York.

Despite the early ridicule he received for the claims, Taylor’s reports have now been confirmed. On Tuesday, the same day that Trump fired Comey, CNN and other media outlets reported that the Eastern Virginia grand jury not only existed but had issued subpoenas for associates of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in February — 18 days after the Trump administration was warned by the Justice Department that Flynn was possibly being blackmailed by Russia.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey confirmed the online reports that a grand jury had also been convened in New York.

Donald Trump, Trump Russia, Trump Russia investigation, Trump Russia warrants, Strategic Campaign Group, Eastern District Virginia
Fired FBI Directr James Comey returns to his home after learning of his dismissal by Trump. (Image By Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP Images)

On his Twitter account Thursday, Taylor reported that “[a] source in legal community reports large number of Warrants from Eastern District of Virginia being executed by the FBI. Source reports frenzy of activity inside the EDVA, large number of agents, US Marshals.”

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As of about 3:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, however, the only warrant that had been publicly confirmed was the search warrant targeting Strategic Campaign Group.

In another online report, Louise Mensch — the British journalist and former Conservative member of that country’s parliament who first broke the news that a FISA surveillance warrant in the Trump-Russia case had been granted last year — went a step further than Taylor, stating that “arrests” connected to the Trump-Russia investigation could come “possibly as soon as Thursday, May 11th.”

“I am able to report tonight as fact both that my own sources, who are independent of Mr. Taylor’s sources, confirm multiple sealed indictments delivered at State Grand Jury level in the Southern District of New York,” Mensch wrote on her Patribotics blog. “Intelligence sources also believe that the first arrests in Trump Russia will shortly be announced and may come as quickly as tomorrow.”

[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]