Some expect Manafort to take a slash-and-burn approach. “I think they’re going to try to throw any dirt possible,” said former federal prosecutor Randal Eliason. “If he’s going to trial, then I would expect it to be an all-out war and I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to make those kinds of claims that the prosecution is tainted.”

An aggressive claim of bias by Manafort is unlikely to derail the prosecution that now threaten him with the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars. It would also bring some risk: lawyers warn that it could anger the judges presiding over his cases who might see the strategy as a frivolous diversion that could drag the trials into a political morass.

But such moves could also draw public attention to alleged abuses by federal investigators, whom some Congressional Republicans have accused of a brazen anti-Trump vendetta. That might draw the attention and sympathy of President Donald Trump, from whom Manafort may be hoping to win a pardon.