The U.S. government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, according to a new report.
According to the report, the FBI obtained the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 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.
Manafort is a key figure in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s involvement with the election.
On “Fox & Friends,” Judge Andrew Napolitano explained that the initial warrant was discontinued, but investigators received another one that extended into the beginning of this year, Fox News reports.
He said it’s not clear if this new one is a FISA or a regular Article III judge warrant, which he said is a “real serious distinction.”
He explained that to obtain the latter, investigators would have to present a federal judge with evidence of crimes committed by Manafort or the people he was speaking to.
“Were they listening to Paul Manafort during the campaign in order to find out what Donald Trump was going to do next in the campaign and help Hillary? Were they listening to Paul Manafort because they thought he had committed a crime? Were they listening to Paul Manafort because they were looking for something with which to tarnish the future president?” Napolitano said.
“I think there’s more to be heard.”
After the election, President Trump claimed that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower.
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
Or course, Obama denied President Trump’s accusation that he had tapped the the phones at Trump Tower in the weeks before the November 2016 election.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president.