Obama Wiretapped Trump

When do we bring up charges against the First (Half) Black President ™ Obama? Obama wiretapped Trump for months, likely illegally, and relaxed NSA rules about information sharing to get it to as many people in government as possible to ensure leaks to the press and others.

Drawing on sources including the New York Times and the Washington Post, Levin described the case against Obama so far, based on what is already publicly known. The following is an expanded version of that case, including events that Levin did not mention specifically but are important to the overall timeline:

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  1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.
  2. July: Russia joke. Wikileaks releases emails from the Democratic National Committee that show an effort to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) from winning the presidential nomination. In a press conference, Donald Trump refers to Hillary Clinton’s own missing emails, joking: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.” That remark becomes the basis for accusations by Clinton and the media that Trump invited further hacking.
  3. October: Podesta emails. In October, Wikileaks releases the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, rolling out batches every day until the election, creating new mini-scandals. The Clinton campaign blames Trump and the Russians.
  4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.
  5. January 2017: Buzzfeed/CNN dossier. Buzzfeed releases, and CNN reports, a supposed intelligence “dossier” compiled by a foreign former spy. It purports to show continuous contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, and says that the Russians have compromising information about Trump. None of the allegations can be verified and some are proven false. Several media outlets claim that they had been aware of the dossier for months and that it had been circulating in Washington.
  6. January: Obama expands NSA sharing. As Michael Walsh later notes, and as the New York Times reports, the outgoing Obama administration “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.” The new powers, and reduced protections, could make it easier for intelligence on private citizens to be circulated improperly or leaked.
  7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties. Other news outlets also report the exisentence of “a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.
  8. February: Mike Flynn scandal. Reports emerge that the FBI intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — then a private citizen — and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept supposedly was part of routine spying on the ambassador, not monitoring of the Trump campaign. The FBI transcripts reportedly show the two discussing Obama’s newly-imposed sanctions on Russia, though Flynn earlier denied discussing them. Sally Yates, whom Trump would later fire as acting Attorney General for insubordination, is involved in the investigation. In the end, Flynn resigns over having misled Vice President Mike Pence (perhaps inadvertently) about the content of the conversation.
  9. February: Times claims extensive Russian contacts. The New York Times cites “four current and former American officials” in reporting that the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials. The Trump campaign denies the claims — and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of coordination between the campaign and the Russians. The White House and some congressional Republicans begin to raise questions about illegal intelligence leaks.
  10. March: the Washington Post targets Jeff Sessions. The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign — once at a Heritage Foundation event and once at a meeting in Sessions’s Senate office. The Post suggests that the two meetings contradict Sessions’s testimony at his confirmation hearings that he had no contacts with the Russians, though in context (not presented by the Post) it was clear he meant in his capacity as a campaign surrogate, and that he was responding to claims in the “dossier” of ongoing contacts. The New York Times, in covering the story, adds that the Obama White House “rushed to preserve” intelligence related to alleged Russian links with the Trump campaign. By “preserve” it really means “disseminate”: officials spread evidence throughout other government agencies “to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators” and perhaps the media as well.

In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.

 

Jun 2016 FISA Warrant Request From Obama

In Jun 2106, the FBI originally requested a FISA warrant to investigate and wire tap the Trump Campaign. At the time, the believed reasons given were due to a trip to Russia by Carter Page, a “claimed” Trump foreign policy advisor to the the Campaign. This occurred one week before the DNC was hacked. Added to this was concern about Paul Manafort and his connections and communications with Russia.

The FISA warrant was denied.

Speculation: This is all speculation, but tossing this out for consideration.

In Jun 2016, Donald Trump was the presumptive nominee for the Republican Presidential candidate. There was no doubt that he would be the nominee. If a warrant had been granted, and if “derogatory data” had been obtained about Trump, then “leaks” could have occurred impacting the Convention approval of Trump as the candidate. This would have likely caused the Convention to turn to another candidate, Paul Ryan, as the candidate. This would have made a Hillary win of the general election very likely.  “Just sayin’”.

More background on the FISA court here.

 

President Trump hits back against the Deep State attempt at a Coup ‘detat!

Looks like he’s got the proof that Obama went to the FISA court in June AND in October, eventually getting a warrant to tap Trump’s phones in October.

This is worse than Nixon because this is an overt attempt to overthrow a sitting President.  JFK isn’t here to speak for himself, but…

 

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Exit question: What did Hillary know and when did she know it?  Are we to believe Obama had wiretaps on Trump and didn’t share this with her?  Come on. This is the ultimate test of the strength of our Constitution. Can the bureaucracy overthrow the elected government?

 


 

Update (Doomberg): Needless to say, if these allegations are true, this would blow the lid off the campaign by the Democrats to overturn the election results, so I started looking around for the source of this information.

The immediate background to Trump’s tweets was listed above, which reported on allegations made by Mark Levin on his show about Obama’s use of hardball Nixonian tactics against Trump. To review, this is the key part of the article:

So it appears the source for Breitbart/Levin was Andrew McCarthy at the National Review. I read through McCarthy’s piece, and he in turn sourced it from elsewhere:

But now, let’s consider the press reports — excerpted in David French’s Corner post — that claim that the Obama Justice Department and the FBI sought FISA warrants against Trump insiders, and potentially against Donald Trump himself, during the last months and weeks of the presidential campaign. It’s an interesting revelation, particularly in light of last fall’s media consternation over “banana republic” tactics against political adversaries, triggered by Trump’s vow to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate serious allegations of criminal misconduct against Hillary Clinton — consternation echoed by Senate Democrats during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for attorney-general nominee Jeff Sessions.

From the three reports, from the Guardian, Heat Street, and the New York Times, it appears the FBI had concerns about a private server in Trump Tower that was connected to one or two Russian banks. Heat Street describes these concerns as centering on “possible financial and banking offenses.” I italicize the word “offenses” because it denotes crimes. Ordinarily, when crimes are suspected, there is a criminal investigation, not a national-security investigation.

McCarthy fails to directly link of the source pieces for his article, but fortunately, French does. First, here is the key snippet from the Guardian:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.

The “one report” that the Guardian linked appears to be the Heat Street article that both French and McCarthy referenced:

Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.

Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.

The FISA warrant was granted in connection with the investigation of suspected activity between the server and two banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank. However, it is thought in the intelligence community that the warrant covers any ‘US person’ connected to this investigation, and thus covers Donald Trump and at least three further men who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates. The warrant was sought, they say, because actionable intelligence on the matter provided by friendly foreign agencies could not properly be examined without a warrant by US intelligence as it involves ‘US Persons’ who come under the remit of the FBI and not the CIA. Should a counter-intelligence investigation lead to criminal prosecutions, sources say, the Justice Department is concerned that the chain of evidence have a basis in a clear  warrant.

Heat Street is where the trail ends and appears to be the core of the reporting of the allegations of wiretapping. The New York Times article referenced by McCarthy is likely the one linked in the Heat Street article, and is linked in the above snippet.

I strongly recommend readers review McCarthy’s article as well as the “core” Heat Street source article for these allegations so as to achieve a better understanding of what is going on, and the implications of what Obama did during the election.

Of course, the allegations of Trump connections to Russia are totally ludicrous, and were obviously thin justifications invented by the Obama administration to spy on his political enemy, Trump. The problem, of course, would be proving this in a court of law and would require people involved with the spying to come forward and talk, which is unlikely. However, this is a PR disaster for the Democrats and will put them back on their heels, as well as give Trump carte blanche for a massive cleanup of the intelligence agencies.

Let’s all hope Trump takes the opportunity which has landed in his lap.

 


 

Update (Doomberg): Hat tip to westiegirl for finding this excellent clip from Fox & Friends with Tony Shafer discussing the allegations of wiretapping. The Ryan part in the first 1 minute and 20 seconds of the video is just an intro, and Shafer’s segment is the interesting bit:

 


 

Update (Doomberg): The official Obama response, for anyone who cares. Of course, it’s a denial:

 
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