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Federal Government Wiretapped Paul Manafort
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Summary: The FBI reportedly had a wiretap on Paul Manafort earlier this year. 

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had been wiretapped. Sources told CNN that the man at the center of the probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential race had been monitored before and after the election.

  
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The government had been eavesdropping on Manafort as recent as early this year, and this period includes a time when he was known to have conversations with President Donald Trump.

Manafort has been accused of encouraging the Russians to help rig last year’s election in November, and two of the sources who spoke to CNN said that communications have been collected but the evidence is not conclusive.

Robert Mueller is leading the probe, and he reportedly has been given the details of Manafort’s conversations. Manafort had become the subject of an FBI investigation starting in 2014. A secret order was authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) after Manafort’s relationship with Ukraine came under scrutiny.

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The wiretapping was stopped sometime last year because of lack of evidence, but the surveillance was restarted after the FBI obtained a new FISA warrant. CNN noted that Manafort was not watched in July of 2016 when he was a party to the infamous meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who had allegedly promised dirt on Donald Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It is unclear whether or not Trump is heard on the FBI tapes, and the White House declined speaking to CNN about the story. Manafort had also declined to speak to CNN but he had previously denied participating in any plot to influence the 2016 Presidential Election with Russia’s help.



Legal experts have said that Manafort is one of the key people that the FBI is investigating. In addition to the wiretaps, in July of this year, they raided his home, looking for tax documents and other financial statements. The raid came at a time when Manafort has been cooperating with the probe by providing documents.

The government’s interest in Manafort began as an outgrowth to an investigation into Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych, a former president allied to Russia. Yanukovych was accused of corruption and funneling millions of dollars into the United States, and this probe led to a deal that Manafort had conducted, where he was overpaid for a real estate property by a Ukrainian figure. The FBI was unable to uncover any evidence to convict Manafort in that case, but they have since appeared to be building a case of business fraud in relation to bad deals made by his son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai.

What do you think of the FBI probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 Presidential Campaign? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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