First, the facts:
Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet.
[With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a Tone, by By Sharon Lafraniere, Matt Apuzzo And Adam Goldman, NYT, September 18, 2017]Usually, when a Federal agent, or any other law enforcement officer at the State level is executing a duly obtained search warrant, there is a requirement that the agents serve that warrant only between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm, and to gain entry to the place to be search, they must knock and announce, giving the resident of the dwelling to be search a reasonable amount of time to come to the door and admit the agents. This is called the Knock and Announce Rule.
There are exceptions to the Knock and Announce Rule—those are called No-Knock Warrants. This is where the officer or agent applying for the warrant must prove to the magistrate reviewing the warrant application. These are highly unusual, as not using Knock and Announce can have deadly consequences for both the subject of the search and the officers serving the warrant, or worse yet, an innocent where the police raid the wrong address.
However, No-Knock Warrants are necessary. And they are used in cases where there is an exception danger to officers serving the warrant from violent subjects, such as gangs, where evidence can be easily destroyed, like drugs flushed down the toilet, or terrorism cases. The usual No-Knock Warrant at the Federal level is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raiding a drug den or dealer, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives and Really Big Fires raiding a motorcycle gang dealing in guns, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Hostage Rescue Team (FBI HRT) raiding an Al-Queda suspect, ICE Special Victims Unit raiding a child pornographer, or the U.S. Marshal's Service raiding the hideout of a wanted prison escapee.
Those conditions make knocking and announcing an invitation to a shootout, electronic evidence being destroyed, or drugs going down the drain. Common sense. In my experience of 26 years in Federal law enforcement, I have never even sought a No-Knock Warrant. They are almost never needed in white-collar crime, as the Manafort case is, a mere financial crimes only being investigated to force Manafort to lie to implicate President Trump. Manafort has no criminal history, no history of violence, no involvement in drugs, weapons, or terrorism.
No-Knock Warrants are not supposed to be given out willy nilly, and especially not to "send a message"to suspects in a case. But this seems be what has happened. Note that the Mueller team even photographed Manafort's designer suits. Manafort could not have flushed those suits down the toilet any more than he could have destroyed the mass of documents that were taken from his house. That in itself proves two points. One, there was no need for a No-Knock Warrant, and two, that the warrant itself was designed not to obtain evidence of a crime, but to intimidate Manafort and solicit perjury in the Deep State's war on Donald J. Trump. There is no evidentiary value in Manafort's suits other than to prejudice the jury against a wealthy and successful man. Expensive suits are not a crime, and is clothing ever seized as the fruit of a crime. Jewelry, expensive cars, even real property, but never personal items like clothing. And since the suits weren't seized as evidence, why were those suits photographed other than for intimidation?
The Deep State is at war with President Trump, and they won't stop at anything, including obviously lying to a Federal magistrate about the possibility of Manafort destroying evidence when agents knock at his door to serve the warrant.
Time for someone to report these FBI agents to the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General!