FBI had Paul Manafort wiretapped during election

The FBI obtained a warrant to have Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, wiretapped for part of 2016 and early 2017, CNN reports. Manafort was being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department due to what were seen as suspicious connections to Russia. From CNN:

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.

According to CNN’s sources, the FBI obtained a warrant from FISA court to start wiretapping Manafort back in 2014 over his involvement with the pro-Russian Ukrainian government. That warrant eventually expired and nothing of note, or at least worthy of criminal charges, came up at the time so the surveillance was dropped. Then in 2016, the FBI requested and was granted a new FISA warrant because of “a series of odd connections between Trump associates and Russia.”

Manafort was not being wiretapped at the time he attended a June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and a Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. He was, however, under surveillance even after he was ousted from the campaign, which came after it was revealed his name was found in a secret ledger with alleged cash payments for his work in Ukraine. This is worth pointing out because Trump has made a habit of continuing to talk with former members of his campaign or administration who had to leave under troubling circumstances, and Manafort was no exception.

To be clear, this does not mean Trump was right when he said Obama had his “wires tapped.” The FBI, not the president, requested the warrant for Manafort, who you will notice is a completely separate person from Donald Trump.

As special counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election, Manafort’s name has popped up repeatedly in less-than-ideal circumstances. Notably, Manafort’s Virginia home was raided by the FBI back in July, after which prosecutors working for Mueller told Manafort that they planned on indicting him, The New York Times reports.

Granted, they may have just been trying to scare the shit out of him.

[CNN | Photo: Getty]