The feds are closing in on Paul Manafort with multiple investigations into his business connections and financial dealings. At around the same that the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed him in late July, the FBI raided his home. Now, we’re finding out that federal investigators have been putting pressure on Manafort’s son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, to dig deeper into the family’s web of real estate transactions and foreign ties, and to find out what Manafort’s motives might be.
An anonymous source close to the probe now says that the Feds are actively seeking Yohai’s cooperation, although it isn’t clear if he acquiesced or not. “They always start with the people on the low end of the ladder and try to get information on someone high up on the ladder,” said William Jeffress, a lawyer whose client list has included Scooter Libby.
But Yohai isn’t just a low rung on the ladder or just a son-in-law. He has also partnered with Manafort on a number of shady deals that look like they could be part of a Ponzi scheme. On his own, Yohai has allegedly been involved in illegal luxury AirBnB rentals with his wife. With his father-in-law, he’s in much deeper water involving shell companies, Ukranian payouts, and even maybe pulling one over on Dustin Hoffman.
While the FBI’s approach could be just the usual methods of building a case and collecting witness testimony for trial, it’s interesting that the FBI is seemingly still trying to get insight into Manafort’s thinking even after his Senate testimony and the seizure of numerous documents during the pre-dawn raid on his house. Numerous sources close to the Manafort probe, including Manafort’s own spokesman, say he’s not being a cooperative witness or trying to broker an immunity deal like Michael Flynn did. If the goal is, as this anonymous source claims, to “get into Manafort’s head,” Yohai is a good target. Apparently the FBI’s attempts to get Yohai to cooperate, whether or not they were successful, have “made waves” in even the big pond Manafort swims in. Who knows what could wash ashore.