Report: Feds Wiretapped Trump Campaign Chief Manafort

Agents picked lock before July raid on Va. home
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2017 6:33 AM CDT
In this July 18, 2016 photo, then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort walks around the convention floor before the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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(Newser) – The FBI was listening in on Paul Manafort's conversations long before he became chief of the Trump campaign and it wiretapped him again as part of the investigation of alleged Russian election meddling, source say. The insiders tell CNN that Manafort was initially wiretapped under a secret court order in 2014 in connection with his work as a consultant in Ukraine. That investigation was dropped last year, apparently because there wasn't enough evidence to bring charges, the sources say, but the wiretapping resumed under another secret order which, like the first, was issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

It isn't clear when the second court order was issued, but the warrant extended until at least early this year, long after Manafort parted ways with the Trump campaign, the sources say. They say evidence collected suggests Manafort encouraged the Russians to help the Trump campaign—though the evidence is not conclusive. The New York Times, citing sources including lawyers and witnesses, reports that federal agents, apparently fearing Manafort would destroy evidence, picked a lock and entered without warning when they raided his Virginia home in July. The sources say that after the raid, special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutor warned Manafort that they planned to indict him. (Mueller has made a move that could be very bad news for Manafort.)

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