Published: Wed, September 20, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Former Trump Campaign Chairman Wiretapped

Former Trump Campaign Chairman Wiretapped

That gap could prove crucial as prosecutors and investigators under Mueller work to determine whether there's evidence of a crime in myriad connections that have come to light between suspected Russian government operatives and associates of Trump.

There are wiretaps of multiple conversations Manafort had with Russian individuals, according to the former official. Mr. Mueller's team also took the unusual step of issuing a subpoena to Melissa Laurenza, a specialist in lobbying law who formerly represented Mr. Manafort.

Sources say the FBI investigation initially centered on work done by Washington consulting firms working for Ukraine's former ruling party. He has not commented on the reports.

Mueller was appointed special counsel by the Department of Justice in the Russian Federation investigation in May after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

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Comey may have tried to skirt the question of wiretapping Trump's campaign by denying wiretapping "directed at" Trump himself, since the surveillance warrant was on Manafort, according to the report.

The wiretaps didn't cover the period in June 2016 when Manafort along with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. Now some Republicans are crowing that the latest revelations vindicate Mr Trump's accusations. In June 2017, Manafort retroactively registered as a foreign agent, and the next month, the FBI raided his home as part of its investigation into Russian Federation meddling in election.

If true, the new findings would not only mean the Obama administration spied on the Trump Team during the elections, but would also mean that key Obama officials may have lied on record.

The wide-ranging nature of Mr. Mueller's investigation could put him on a collision course with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly that Mr. Mueller should keep his investigation narrowly focused on last year's presidential campaign.

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He told the House Judiciary Committee last September that he had decided not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton until after the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed her. Even before Robert Mueller took the reins as special counsel, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Manafort's storage facility.

If the president and his former aide ever spoke about anything incriminating, the vindication his supporters are feeling today will seem cold comfort.

The CNN story details how a secret court order authorized spying on Manafort's phone conversations back in 2014.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that feds obtained an order to pick Manafort's lock on his front door during the early morning raid in July.

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