Tags: andrew napolitano | paul manafort | FISA | warrant | legitimate | foreign government

Napolitano: Manafort Warrant 'Perfectly Legitimate' for Foreign Contacts

(Fox News' "Fox & Friends")

By    |   Tuesday, 19 September 2017 10:52 AM

If the United States government got a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort because he was speaking to agents of foreign governments, "it may have been perfectly legitimate," Judge Andrew Napolitano said Tuesday.

"He may have been working for them and he reported it, or he may not have reported it," Napolitano, now chief legal analyst for Fox News, told the "Fox & Friends" program.

CNN reported Monday that Manafort had been wiretapped by investigators under secret court orders both before and after the election, and that the surveillance continued into early this year.

Even though Manafort at that time was not with Trump's team, he still was speaking with the president, the report noted.

CNN, citing three unnamed sources, said the communications may have allegedly included conversations in which Manafort encouraged Russians to help with the Trump campaign.

It is not known if the warrant used was a FISA document, or a regular Article 3 warrant, and that is a "real serious distinction," said Napolitano.

"If the government uses FISA, that's the foreign intelligence court, to get a warrant to listen to you, the threshold for that is very low," the judge explained, meaning that investigators state they have a reason to believe the subject is talking to someone who works for a foreign government.

"The courts grant 99 percent of those," said Napolitano. "If they were interested in the evidence about Paul Manafort to find out what he knows about Donald Trump or to find out what he was telling Donald Trump during the campaign or to use this evidence against him in a criminal prosecution, that kind of a warrant won't do. Then they have to go to a federal judge and present evidence of crimes by him or the people he is speaking to in order to get that warrant."

The question remains, said Napolitano, if investigators were listening to Manafort to learn what Trump was going to do next in his campaign, and if the information was going to be used to help Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Or, said the judge, "Were they listening to Paul Manafort because they thought he had committed a crime? Were they listening to Paul Manafort because they were looking for something with which to tarnish the future president?"

At any rate, the answer to all those questions is that Manafort was being surveilled while he was in Trump Tower, "which is consistent with allegations Donald Trump and others made" about eavesdropping.

Also, Napolitano pointed out that both former FBI Director James Comey, while still head of the FBI, and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers both told the Senate Intelligence Committee, under oath, that they knew of no surveillance measures against Trump.

"How could the FBI director not know about this if his own people had brought it about as part of a criminal investigation," said Napolitano.

He also discounted a rumor, mentioned by show co-host Ainsley Earhardt, that investigators "were sneaking into" Manafort's apartment to bug it while he slept.

"They broke into his house while he was still asleep pursuant to a search warrant and raided and took pictures of his clothing, took his checkbooks and everything," said Napolitano. "[It was] extremely aggressive."

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If the United States government got a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort because he was speaking to agents of foreign governments, "it may have been perfectly legitimate," Judge Andrew Napolitano said...
andrew napolitano, paul manafort, FISA, warrant, legitimate, foreign government
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2017-52-19
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 10:52 AM
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