The Jury Talks Back

9/19/2017

Anonymous Sources Tell CNN That Manafort Was Wiretapped

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:03 am

Double whammy. Anonymous sources and #FAKENEWSCNN!! No Trump supporter will every take any of this seriously. That I can tell you:

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.

Stories based on anonymous sources are worth nothing. They may be worth discussing, however, because folks like Trump are bound to react to them. Just remember not to jump to a conclusion that the story is correct simply because it supports your pre-conceived notion.

If it’s true, this is potentially big news because the story appears to indicate, for the first time (as far as I can tell), that a Trump aide was actually a target of a wiretap — as opposed to incidentally captured on a wiretap that did not target them. Mitigating the bigly-ness of the news is the fact that the investigation into Manafort began in 2014 — long before Trump even entered the presidential race in June 2015:

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 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.

It is unclear when the new warrant started. The FBI interest deepened last fall because of intercepted communications between Manafort and suspected Russian operatives, and among the Russians themselves, that reignited their interest in Manafort, the sources told CNN. As part of the FISA warrant, CNN has learned that earlier this year, the FBI conducted a search of a storage facility belonging to Manafort. It’s not known what they found.

There’s a lot here that is unclear. But Manafort has always seemed a shady character, though, and news that he is under severe scrutiny does not come as a big shock. Not only did the initial investigation into Manafort precede Trump’s entry into the presidential race, but interest appears to have been “reignited” by things he said to Russians during an incidental surveillance pursuant to warrants directed at other targets.

For me, the key takeaway is that Trump showed horrible judgment in making Manafort his campaign manager. Which we always knew anyway.

5 Comments »

  1. From the original article:
    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.

    Since we don’t know why it was restarted, we don’t know if further evidence was found to justify restarting the investigation or if it was politically motivated. All of that is of course secret.

    Comment by Frederick — 9/19/2017 @ 7:47 am

  2. Manafort previously advised the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole. Evidently he did something right in those instances to earn recommendations for Team Trump. If Manafort knew he was under investigation, he should have told Team Trump from the start. Anyway, let’s just hope that Mueller has a better grasp of the whole matter than we do, because I guarantee that we know almost nothing at this point. Except that Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager for less than two months (from about June 20 to August 18 of 2016), which is not a helluva long time.

    Comment by Andrew — 9/19/2017 @ 7:18 pm

  3. *if*, as reported, Manafort was wiretapped, there are other possibilities.

    The first and foremost is how. How, exactly, did the Feds get interested in Manafort? If it’s related to Ukraine in any way, it’s very highly suspect because we already know Ukraine was colluding with the democrats to influence the election, so it’s not much of a stretch to think they floated some false info on Manafort as part of it.

    And if that’s the case, it begs the question; was this done by design, not just to smear Manafort and others, but to give the democrats the excuse to surveill them, and then unmask people they spoke to? (defacto wiretapping them as well).

    And of course, if the story has the dates anywhere close to right, everything I wrote above is clearly wrong.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 9/20/2017 @ 10:57 am

  4. Senator Grassley has posed a very interesting question to the FBI: did they warn Trump about Manafort, and if not why not?

    Comment by Andrew — 9/21/2017 @ 9:22 pm

  5. Furthermire, why did they do this:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-monitored-manafort-after-he-left-trump-campaign-1506034258

    Did admiral Rogers tip them off.

    Comment by narciso — 9/22/2017 @ 5:19 am

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