A new report from The Wall Street Journal gave us more confirmed insight into the Obama wiretap scandal.
U.S. authorities placed Paul Manafort under surveillance after he was ousted as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
The surveillance, which was part of a counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference with the presidential election, didn’t involve listening to Mr. Manafort’s phone communications in real-time, the officials said.
But armed with a warrant, investigators still could have conducted clandestine surveillance of Mr. Manafort, possibly by obtaining copies of his emails and other electronically stored communications, or by having agents follow him or conduct physical searches of his property.
The surveillance began after Mr. Manafort left the Trump campaign in August, but it is not clear when it was suspended. Mr. Manafort resigned after a spate of publicity about his consulting work in Ukraine on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies.
The government’s focus on Mr. Manafort has grown more intense in recent months. He has become one focus of a probe lead by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is examining possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the campaign as well as whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he fired former FBI Director James Comey.
Now, none of this is shocking. We knew that Manafort was being spied on and we knew these wiretaps were being looked at by Muller’s probe. What shocked me was a quote from Manafort’s spokesman.
In the face of mounting scrutiny and a CNN report he had been the target of a secret wiretap, Mr. Manafort suggested Thursday through a spokesman that he had been caught in the crossfire of the Russia investigation and accused the Obama administration of “pursuing surveillance against a political opponent.”
“It’s unclear if Paul Manafort was the objective,” said Jason Maloni, Mr. Manafort’s spokesman. “Perhaps the real objective was Donald Trump.”
Woah. This is Manafort’s spokesperson hinting that Manafort was wiretapped so that they could spy on Donald Trump.
We have covered this scandal since the beginning and basically knew that the Obama administration was using politically motivated spying and leaking to destroy Trump. This narrative is being confirmed more and more each day.