CNN and others report that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was under surveillance before and after the campaign and has been told to expect an indictment.
CNN broke the story earlier today that the US Government wiretapped former Trump Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort. Manafort was put under surveillance in 2014 before the elections and then again after the elections in 2016. CNN reported that this is an “extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.”
The first surveillance was ordered in secret by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA ). This surveillance was ordered in 2014 when the FBI was investigating 3 US consulting firms who were connected to the Ukraine’s former ruling party. Manafort’s consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly lobbied on behalf of heads of state that were considered controversial, such as Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of the Philippines, Motubu Seso Seko, former dictator of the Congo, and Viktor Yanukovych, former Ukraine president. This surveillance was discontinued last year due to lack of evidence.
Manafort flew back into the radar as part of the FBI investigation over Trump and the Russians and whether there was any collusion. There was no wiretap when Manafort met with Donald Trump Jr. in the June 2016 meeting where Trump Jr. was trying to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, via a Russian lawyer.
Shortly after this meeting, another FISA court order was issued for Manafort specifically to find information on collusion with Russia. Both the CIA and the FBI had noticed strange connections between Trump Associates and Russia. Manafort also has an apartment in Trump Towers, although it is not clear whether the apartment was tapped.
CNN reported that the surveillance continued after Trump was sworn in, as Manafort still had contact with Trump. There is no confirmation, just rumors, over whether Trump was caught on tape speaking with Manafort, although it could be possible. Obviously, this could bring to light whether or not Trump was also involved.
In July, Manafort’s home was raided by federal agents who had a warrant. The New York Times reported that the agents picked his lock to enter the home. Agents took documents, copied his hard drives, and even photographed his expensive suits. It is purported that the agents were looking for evidence that Manafort had set up secret offshore accounts. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation.