Manafort under surveillance before and after election: report
President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was under surveillance both before and after the 2016 election and prosecutors have told him he will be indicted, according to reports.
The FBI began investigating the longtime Republican operative in 2014 because of his work with the pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine, and it secured a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor him, CNN reported Monday.
That warrant was discontinued, but investigators received another one that extended into the beginning of this year after intercepting communications with suspected Russian operatives, the news outlet said.
Manafort has become a focus of various investigations into alleged Russian efforts to tilt the 2016 election toward Trump. Those probes are going forward in Congress, the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Mueller’s agents raided Manafort’s Alexandria, Va., home in July, with The New York Times reporting Monday that prosecutors told him soon after that he would be indicted.
Manafort stepped down from Trump’s campaign last August after reports of under-the-table payments when he worked in Ukraine for the Party of the Regions, whose president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled to Russia amid violent protests in Kiev.
He is the second Trump associate believed to have been under a federal surveillance, or FISA, warrant, with reports earlier this year that foreign policy adviser and former Moscow financier Carter Page was also being monitored.
Government applications for FISA warrants require information suggesting the target of the surveillance may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
The vast majority of requests by the government are granted, though the courts and warrants are secret.
Mueller also would have had to show probable cause for a crime to raid Manafort’s home, though it is unclear what charges Manafort might face in a potential indictment.
Questions have previously been raised about the loan Manafort received for a house in the Hamptons after leaving the Trump campaign, as well as his failure to register as a foreign agent during his work for the Ukrainian government.
Manafort, who belatedly registered as a foreign agent this summer, has denied any wrongdoing or collusion with the Russian government.
He was part of the now infamous June 2016 meeting among Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and a Kremlin-connected lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russia’s top prosecutor.
CNN reported that Manafort was not under FISA surveillance at the time, and it was unclear when the second warrant took effect.
Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort who was himself brought in for a grand jury appearance last week, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Manafort may also soon receive a subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee that is investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The panel wants to talk with Manafort and two FBI officials close to fired FBI Director James Comey.
It would be the second subpoena for Manafort, who received one in July but got it overturned a day later when he agreed to turn over documents and continue negotiating about setting up an interview with the panel.