The political world has exploded since CNN released an exclusive report vindicating President Trump’s longstanding claims that his campaign was wiretapped by the government under former President Barack Obama.
The report revealed that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was surveilled by the FBI under a FISA warrant. According to the Washington Examiner, Manafort’s spokesman said the wiretap report leaks are a “felony”–and the Department of Justice’s Inspector General should investigate the Obama administration’s surveillance of a political opponent.
In an email sent out Tuesday, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni suggested that the entities responsible for the wiretapping reports should be held responsible for what amounts to an illegal “leak.”
Maloni wrote: “If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged.” Maloni also questioned the Obama administration’s surveillance of his client’s conversations.
“The US Department of Justice’s Inspector General should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous Administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent.”
Maloni continued, “Mr. Manafort requests that the Department of Justice release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there.”
The FBI’s original investigation into Paul Manafort revolved around his political consultancy in the Ukraine. In 2014, a FISA warrant was obtained for surveillance, but the wiretapping was stopped in 2016 due to lack of evidence.
Despite this, a second FISA warrant was granted to resume surveillance on Manafort when he became chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the summer of 2016. This information seemingly contradicts statements made by former FBI Director James Comey.
As reported by Christian News Alerts, Comey appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in March and denied President Trump’s allegations of wiretapping, saying, “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI.”
The CNN report details wiretapping of Manafort, not Trump directly–which means Comey did not perjure himself before the House. Nevertheless, his remarks raise questions about how the former FBI director could apparently have been ignorant about a surveillance operation that required authorization from top FBI officials.
But as The Hill reported, James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence under Obama, said it is “conceivable” Trump himself was picked up in the wiretapped conversations of Paul Manafort. If this turns out to be the case, Trump’s accusations against the Obama administration would be further vindicated. Comey could then face additional heat for his seemingly misleading remarks.
According to TruNews, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who heads the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, is apparently planning to indict Paul Manafort. While the charges may be financial in nature and unrelated to the campaign, it could be a way to pressure Manafort into speaking against President Trump.
As seen at Breitbart, FBI agents raided Manafort’s home early last month. Despite Trump’s “wiretapping” vindication, events suggest the “Russia” conflict between the Trump administration and the media is far from over.