Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was wiretapped before and after the 2016 presidential election under a secret court order, CNNreported on Monday.
The wiretapping reportedly occurred during a “period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.”
CNN has the exclusive on the bombshell development:
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.
Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
Additionally, the New York Times, citing “two people close to the investigation,”reported Manafort has since been threatened with an indictment by prosecutors.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 18, 2017
Jamil N. Jaffer, founder of the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, said in a statement provided to IJR that the development is “quite troubling”:
“If news reports are accurate, the fact that DOJ lawyers were able to obtain multiple FISA court orders on Mr. Manafort, including a physical search order, is quite troubling.
Indeed, given the stringent requirements that must be met, both at senior levels in the executive branch, as well as with the FISA court judges, to conduct such surveillance of an American in the United States, much less a senior campaign official in the course of an ongoing Presidential campaign, such an effort suggests significant cause for concern.”