According to a report by CNN, U.S. investigators wiretapped President Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election.
The report vindicates the president’s earlier claims, which were mocked as a conspiracy theory.
President Trump had tweeted on March 4: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
CNN itself at the time called the idea that Trump was wiretapped “incendiary.”
But a report Monday evening said U.S. investigators obtained a surveillance warrant on Manafort from a secret court and had monitored him before and after the election, including a “period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.”
Washington (CNN) – US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.
The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.
Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which is leading the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election, has been provided details of these communications.
A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine’s former ruling party, the sources told CNN.
The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources.
The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former FBI Director James Comey were leading the agencies, respectively, at the time.
The report said the first warrant had already expired when Manafort had become the chairman in May. Before he left in August, FBI investigators “noticed what counterintelligence agents thought was a series of odd connections between Trump associates in Russia.”
At some point, the FBI obtained the new FISA warrant and began monitoring Manafort again, who has a residence in Trump Tower. The story said it’s “unclear” whether the FBI surveillance took place there.
The Justice Department and the FBI denied that Trump was being wiretapped.
Comey later in March disputed Trump’s claims in testimony that lawmakers could now find misleading.
He told the House Intelligence Committee, “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI.”
So, again evidence Comey lied. Imagine that!
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