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Trump 'surprised' by Manafort raid in Russia probe

Posted at 3:38 PM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 18:38:33-04

President Donald Trump said he was "surprised" that the FBI conducted an early morning raid of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's home last month.

"You know, they do that very seldom, so I was surprised to see it. I was very, very surprised to see it," Trump said from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Thursday, according to pool reports. "I thought it was a very, very strong signal, or whatever."

Trump said he has not spoken to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions or the FBI regarding the raid.

"I have not, but to do that early in the morning, whether or not it was appropriate you'd have to ask them," Trump said. "I've always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man. He's like a lot of other people -- probably makes consultant fees from all over the place. Who knows? I don't know, but I thought it was pretty tough stuff to wake him up, perhaps his family was there."

"I think that's pretty tough stuff," the President added.

Trump said he knows Manafort but has not spoken to him "in a long time."

On July 26, the FBI raided Manafort's northern Virginia home as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which is being led by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

"FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort's residences," Jason Maloni, Manafort's spokesman, told CNN. "Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well."

Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman from March 2016 until August 2016.