Government wiretapped Manafort during and after 2016: report
The government wiretapped the phone of President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, CNN reported on Monday
Sources familiar with the matter told CNN that the government obtained a secret court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 2014. The warrant allegedly focused on his work consulting for the government of Ukraine.
That warrant was reportedly ended in 2016, but the FBI obtained a second one soon after which lasted until early 2017, including periods when Manafort was speaking with Trump.
The second warrant was allegedly part of the ongoing investigation into Russia’s election meddling and any ties between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Investigators began monitoring Manafort again after he left the Trump campaign in August of last year.
Manafort has emerged as a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian investigations.
Last month, reports emerged that Mueller had issued subpoenas for six public relations firms that had worked with Manafort, and the ex-campaign chairman’s spokesman was recently called to testify before one of Mueller’s two grand juries.
Investigators were reportedly concerned that some of the intelligence collected by wiretapping Manafort included communications that indicated Manafort had sought Russia’s help for the Trump campaign, but two sources told CNN that the evidence is not conclusive.
The warrant reportedly did not cover the time when Manafort, along with Donald Trump Jr. and White House senior adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner met in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who they had been told had damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Manafort’s home was raided by the FBI in July as part of the special counsel’s investigation, and CNN reports that as part of the FISA warrant, a storage facility of Manafort’s was also searched this year.
The New York Times reported Monday that Manafort was told during the raid that he should expect an indictment.
Trump has previously accused former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, but the Justice Department confirmed in a court filing earlier this month that neither it nor FBI had any evidence to support that claim.