The Russia probe has a new headline. According to CNN, United States investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election. CNN claims the government wiretapping continued into 2017, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.
Allegedly, the government grabbed communications that raised eyebrows with investigators because they included Manafort encouraging the Russians to help with the Trump campaign.
CNN is reporting this information based on “three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.”
Sources tell CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team provided details of the wiretapped communications.
The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources.
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.
The conversations between Manafort and Trump continued after the President took office, long after the FBI investigation into Manafort was publicly known, the sources told CNN. They went on until lawyers for the President and Manafort insisted that they stop, according to the sources.
It’s unclear whether Trump himself was picked up on the surveillance.
The White House declined to comment for this story. A spokesperson for Manafort didn’t comment for this story.
Manafort previously has denied that he ever “knowingly” communicated with Russian intelligence operatives during the election and also has denied participating in any Russian efforts to “undermine the interests of the United States.”
Manafort, then campaign chairman, and Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, with a Russian lawyer who had promised negative information on Hillary Clinton.
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.You can read the rest of the report on CNN
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