Robert Mueller Brings Down the Hammer on Paul Manafort

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Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman to President Trump, was wiretapped by USA investigators before the election and continuing into 2017, CNN reported.

It's hard to tell what Mueller has on Manafort, "but they absolutely have something because they got a search warrant", said Joseph Pelcher, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent who was stationed in Russian Federation and specialized in organized crime. Two of the network's sources cautioned that the intelligence was inconclusive.

The surveillance originally stemmed from a 2014 FBI investigation looking into his connections to the government of Ukraine, and was authorized by the highly secretive court which oversees cases involving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 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.

Government applications for FISA warrants require information suggesting that the target of the surveillance may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.

But Monday's CNN report shows that the FBI investigation has gone further than previously known. "It is possible now-as has been noted many times since Trump tweeted his accusation in March-that if the US president was in communication with these individuals, his communications might have been incidentally collected".

The findings of the surveillance have reportedly been passed along to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leasing a probe into alleged collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. "The suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians", CNN reported at the time.




After recently claiming that allegations the Obama administration wiretapped the Trump Tower were groundless, CNN reported new details on September 18 showing that the wiretaps may have taken place.

Neither Manafort nor Mueller commented for either the CNN or NYT stories.

The intercepts were part of a wide ranging Federal Bureau of Investigation counter intelligence operation.

CNN on Tuesday reported that it had received confirmation on reports that alleged Manafort was wiretapped not only prior to the 2016 presidential election, but afterward as well. Robert Mueller's team executed an unannounced search of his property and confiscated files earlier this year. "It appears that during the course of a presidential election, the Obama administration used both intelligence and law enforcement agencies to investigate the Republican nominee's campaign and certain surrogates", Levin said.

Earlier in July, the FBI raided Manafort's Virginia home in search of financial documents relating to the 2016 election, and took documents and other materials related to Mueller's investigation during the raid.

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