Provided we are not placed under state-run media control or reduced to nuclear ash before then, the presidency of Donald Trump seems destined to become the first compelling film successfully adapted from a reality show. And today that film got its first big action set-piece, in the form of a thrilling, pre-dawn FBI raid of former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s home—a sequence that will no doubt look really cool once we’re finally at a place where we can watch all of this from a safe, artistic remove, and preferably, not amid a landscape choked with charred, radioactive skulls.
As The Washington Post reports, FBI agents appeared at the home of Manafort (Christopher McDonald) in the early morning, cinematically orange-and-teal hours of July 26, serving a surprise search warrant to seize tax records and other financial documents. Those agents, under the direction of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (Sam Waterston), walked off with several documents that could be of interest in Mueller’s ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. For his part, Manafort’s spokesman stresses that he cooperated fully with FBI investigators as they searched, presumably watching silently from a medium close-up as they swirled around him, their indistinct chatter gradually overcome by a low, ominous synth note.
According to the Post, the raid—which took place the morning after Manafort voluntarily met with the Senate Intelligence Committee—involved taking some documents that Manafort had already turned over to Congress. The Post suggests that investigators “may have argued to a federal judge they had reason to believe Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena,” although White House advisers insist that Manafort, who’d already submitted his notes from the meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. (a wet, pompadoured clam), would have just turned those documents over if they asked. So why, they wonder, would Mueller and the FBI go to the trouble of staging such a dramatic raid?
Because the optics are fucking badass, the Post argues, suggesting that it sends a message to both Manafort and Trump that Mueller’s inquiry is broadening, and that he will be pursuing this aggressively. And besides, every criminal investigation necessitates a good FBI raid scene; think of the federal agents ransacking the mobsters’ homes in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Or, uh, the federal agents ransacking the mobsters’ homes in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. Whoever is transferring all the events of the past nine months to Final Draft just got the big suspense scene that will carry them neatly into the second act—which we’ll all get to enjoy just as soon as we survive this shit.