Manafort calls for leaks probe after CNN wiretap story

20 Sep 2017 0

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort called Tuesday for a federal investigation into leaks after CNN reported he had been wiretapped by the FBI in a national security probe.

In a rare statement while he is under investigation in the sprawling Russia election interference probe, Manafort’s spokesman said it was a felony to reveal the existence of orders — such as the wiretaps — authorized by the court handling Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests.

“The US Department of Justice’s inspector general should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent,” said the spokesman, Jason Maloni.

“Mr Manafort requests that the Department of Justice release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ –- there is nothing there.”

On Monday, CNN reported that investigators empowered by FISA warrants wiretapped Manafort, who was President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman from June to August 2016.

The surveillance of his communications ran from as early as 2014 to early 2016, and then restarted later in 2016 and continued after the November election, according to CNN.

It was unclear whether Trump himself was picked up by the wiretaps.

The initial interest of the FBI was Manafort’s political consulting work for a Moscow backed political party in Ukraine.

But the revived wiretaps coincided with government intelligence in the middle of last year that Moscow was making a concerted effort to support Trump’s election campaign and damage Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Manafort’s call for investigating the CNN report came amid reports that the Justice Department is already probing US media over leaks that have hurt the Trump administration. DM