Was surveillance of Manafort appropriate?


#1

Here is the story from Breitbart News:

Disclaimer - I’m aware that because most of the people here are conservative, doesn’t necessarily mean that you support DJT, I’m just looking for the opinion of a group I believe is reliably conservative.

Moving on…

So my understanding, very briefly, is that Manafort was under surveillance by the CIA because of his work/ association with the former President of Ukraine who allegedly stole money from the country after he was ousted. As a result, the CIA has an investigation that is attempting to discover money stolen (or laundered) as part of what happened. At some point, the FISA court refused to continue surveillance due to a lack of evidence against Manafort.

Later he joined the Trump campaign and again the CIA convinced the FISA to re-initiate surveillance due to Manfort’s alleged Russian contacts (or at least that is my understanding). It’s also my understanding that the amount of evidence needed to initiate the surveillance is very high.

I believe it is widely accepted that DJT was speaking to Manafort during periods that Manafort was under surveillance, though I’ve seen nothing to indicate either way that this has been confirmed that DJT was or wasn’t recorded.

Here is the reporting from last night on Tucker Carlson:

Apologies for the terrible video, I recorded it right off the TV…

I have a few questions of my conservative friends.

First, I watch (and read) both (so-called) “conservative” and “liberal” news sources.

I’ve noticed that “liberal” sources refer to CIA directly or the “US government” that initiated surveillance. And that “FISA” court judges are responsible for the approvals and eventual denials of surveillance.

Conservative media, like Carlson, refer to it as the “Obama administration” and the “highest levels of the Obama administration” that is responsible for the investigation.

From Breitbart:

"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.”

The first paragraph of the Breitbart article says:

“U.S. investigators wiretapped President Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to a report by CNN that vindicates the president’s earlier claims, which were mocked as a conspiracy theory.”

Does anyone believe that, even if Trump was picked up in communications with Manafort, these exonerate Trump’s claim that Trump tower was wiretapped?

Does anyone believe that this was directed politically and more to the point, by Obama or someone like the AG? Does anyone think that this is politically motivated if so, is there evidence?

If, in the end, there is no evidence found against Manfort, that’s not evidence that the surveillance shouldn’t have taken place. The question should be, was there sufficient evidence to surveil in the first place. Agreed?

For my part, I don’t really think we can say much until we know the results of the investigation.

The only thing that would possibly exonerate Trump’s claim (in my mind) is if someone could prove that the claims against Manafort were fabricated with the intention of surviving Trump as a candidate and later as President/ President-elect.

While it wouldn’t exonerate Trump’s claims, the mishandling of any surveillance of Trump to expose him without the following procedure would be a serious crime in my opinion.


#2

There is one simple fact that proves the surveillance of Manafort had exclusively political motivation:

JOHN PODESTA WAS NOT PLACED UNDER SURVEILLANCE.

There is abundant circumstantial evidence to justify this:


#3

First, I disagree, one has nothing to do with the other, but if you are right and Podesta is guilty of a crime, why doesn’t a Republican-controlled Congress investigate? They have the power.

Do you think that if Dems take back the House and Senate (unlikely I admit) that the number of investigations won’t increase?

Where is the investigative reporting on the right? Where are the sources?

Personally, I believe that if Manafort had been the only person to have extensive dealings with the Russians, this would be a non-issue, or at least it wouldn’t have got any traction. But the sheer number of people that lied about their interaction and the daily drip, drip of new information that shows that people lied about their contacts with Russians, and worse, the Conservatives that are defending and obstructing. is what is fueling the Russia frenzy.

I think if there were significantly more connections than the alleged Podesta connection and Hillary had been asked about it and bold-faced lied on national TV and had significant political and personal motivations to seek help from a US adversary, I think there would be more investigations.

Having said all of that, I’ve always felt that JW is, for the most part, fairly non-partisan, picking on both parties equally. I support more ethics in government, not less and would absolutely support an investigation of Podesta, Clinton or Obama if the evidence warrants it.

No one is above the law IMO, no one, and I won’t make excuses for anyone.


#4

Hypocrite, you have justified the surveillance of Manafort based on circumstantial evidence woven into a wet dream yet you demand hard evidence against Podesta. There is no hard evidence against either man. The two situations are EXACTLY equivalent except one is subject to surveillance and the other is not.

The Obama DOJ was politicized. QED


#5

I didn’t “justify it”. I merely stated facts I’m aware of. The true justification is in the evidence presented to the FISA court.

Far as Podesta, I know of very little beyond the claims of JW, which frankly offers very little in the way of evidence.

As I said, Manafort’s transgressions are only being investigated to this degree because of the Herculean incompetence of this administration and its leader who cannot, if his life counted on it, keep his mouth shut and his fingers off Twitter.

With a Republican-controlled Congress, there is little doubt that massive amount of corruption could and, IMO, would have been swept under the rug, but Trump’s transgressions and his big mouth and horrible picks for his cabinet have hung himself.

History is going to look back on this administration as an embarrassment.

John Kelly’s deflated look as Trump gave his speech at the UN says it all…Epic facepalm.


#6

And that would be what? It doesn’t exist. If it actually existed it would have been leaked by now.

It is circumstantial only just like the “evidence” against Manafort. Quite likely, both are technically guilty of some crime, just nothing to do with the election. They are both snakes.

Wrong, it is the incompetence or cowardice or I don’t know what of Jeff Sessions that allowed this travesty of justice to proceed as far as it had. As for the twitter, who will stick up for him? The republican leadership is out to get him as much as the democrats, K street and the bulk of the federal bureaucracy.

Are you serious? With the exception of Sessions he has picked the most qualified cabinet in ages. Obama picked partisan political hacks as evidenced by their performance. As for corruption, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper and many others are still walking the streets free and clear.

As for the UN speech at least it sets the tone that the utter and complete failure of the foreign policy of the past eight years, causing chaos on half a dozen fronts, is over, I can’t decipher John Kelly’s reaction, too busy admiring our First Lady’s pants suit.


#7

Agreed. Although I do think Sessions is qualified and a better pick than most.


#8

He just co-signed himself to another surge in Afghanistan. The very place he was asking a few months ago “What the hell are we still doing there?

We’re still bombing the Houthis. We’re still backing ISIS-linked groups through Musterek Operasyon Merkezi.


#9

I don’t know what all is what, but so far, I’m hearing only of wiretaps, and not of anything incriminating found on them.


#10

In any good investigation, you wouldn’t know the evidence until they were ready to release the evidence. Does that mean you believe there isn’t any evidence, or that, in light of all the leaks, that if there were some, that we’d have heard it by now?

For my part, I think there is lots of evidence of Crimes committed by Manafort, though the only crimes I’d be willing to bet are finatial crimes, though, it won’t surprise me if there is more.


#11

First, before you talk about Obama’s cabinet like I supported his picks, you might ask. But I don’t know what one has to do with the other?

Talk of an unqualified cabinet is somewhat Ironic though…Let’s go through a few a trumps picks…

  • Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury: Mnuchin has never served in government and has no experience in setting macroeconomic policy

  • Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services: Rep. Price, a doctor who has taken a particular interest in legislating on health care, has a habit of trading in healthcare stocks that are affected by the legislation he writes…Qualified, perhaps, ethical, no so much.

  • Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education: DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, has spent much of her adult life attempting to destroy public education in America. Despite that work, at her confirmation hearing, she displayed a shocking ignorance of basic issues in education policy.

  • Andrew Puzder, Secretary of Labor: If Trump had searched America to find the individual most hostile to the rights of workers, he could not have done much better than Puzder, the CEO of a fast-food company.

  • Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: The former presidential candidate, who has precisely zero experience in housing policy, and said so much himself.

  • Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Like Puzder and DeVos, Pruitt seems to have been chosen for his fervent opposition to the mission of the agency he’ll be leading.

  • Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser: Flynn, an ardent Islamophobe and purveyor of lunatic conspiracy theories, was fired from his last job in government because of mismanagement. Again, perhaps qualified, but lacking in the morals and ethics department.

  • Rex Tillerson…Do I really have to say anything here?

  • Nikki Haley, United Nations Ambassador: Haley’s foreign policy experience consists of going on a couple of trade missions as governor of South Carolina, though I admit, she seems to be doing an ok job…

  • Rick Perry, a guy who seriously didn’t even know what his job entailed at DoE.

  • Sessions, well, we agee he’s unqualified, but I bet we differ on the reasons why, but I’ll let this one go.

So, while I suspect we disagree, I did get a chuckle from your claim of “most qualified cabinet in ages”…


#12

There are investigations of crimes and there are investigations looking for crimes AKA witchhunts. Everyone has been looking for a crime for over a year now and they have nothing except multiple Obama administration officials lying under oath to Congress and Hillary Clinton’s many felonies. I’ll repeat my self here: The only fact you need to know is that if there was any incrimininating evidence against the President or his campaign it would have beeb leaked already. It does not exist.


#13

YOU brought up cabinet picks which has ablsolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. It was my mistake to even reply to it.


#14

Look, for my part, I agree with you to some degree. I don’t think it’s helpful that the party in power has the ability to pour through peoples lives for the last ten years on a whim.

Having said that, financial crimes tend to work that way. I will respectfully disagree with you in this case. My guess, and it’s a guess based only on the evidence that I’ve seen, is that there are numerous financial crimes that will come to light. Kushner, Ross, Trump, Manafort, Paige, and who knows who else. Having said that, I’d have no problem with another investigation of Clinton, Holder or whoever. I don’t think anyone is above the law.

There is just no doubt in my mind that one of the few things worth selling your country out for is money and power. I’m willing to state it here, and you can bookmark this post and gloat later and tell me I’m wrong, but I’m going to say that there were a lot of illegal financial dealings that Muller is already aware of and is collecting the evidence to prove it in court.

I think it’s rich when people claim “witch hunt” with respect to Trump when Clinton was hounded about emails and such, and yet nothing was done. Even if you want to claim that it was because Holder and Lynch were AG, they are gone. Why not pursue it now, unless they (Republicans that control every committee in the Congress) know there isn’t anything there?

Now, let’s be clear, I’m not saying that I think what Clinton did was always ethical, just as I feel about Trump. The problem is that we don’t have laws for a lot of the unethical behavior because I don’t think the system was created to deal with people of such low character.

Did Clinton act unethically? Probaly, did she break the law, Republicans don’t seem to think so as they aren’t pursuing her now that they have control. That speaks volumes to me.

I think, just like healthcare, they were the party of opposition. Saying and doing anything to create a negative perception, but they were never prepared to follow through on any of it now that they find themselves in power. The Republican Party under this administration is making itself look like a special kind of inept.


#15

Yeah, I don’t blame you, that’s a hard list to defend. I just couldn’t walk past the “he has picked the most qualified cabinet in ages.” comment. So yeah, you probably should have let that go.

As far as my decision to speak of cabinet picks, it was perfectly relevent to the conversation. One of the reasons that Trump is getting so much attention on this is his pick of Flynn and Sessions, two cabinet members that lied about meetings with Russians and one of the reasons that there is so much “smoke” around this story. This isn’t an isolated incedent, and we’re not even including people like Don Jr, Kushner, Conway who also met with Russians and didn’t disclose it.

The biggest revelation for me is that anyone, in either party would defend these actions, that they would put party above country. If we can’t unite behind that, I have waining hope that we, as a nation, will ever rally around anything again.

If Dems had done what Trump and his minions have done, the nations second civil war would have already begun.


#16

All I can say is this, the democrats did not allow legitimate investigations of the Obama administration let alone witchhunts. The Republicans are fools, there is no other way to put it.


#17

Now I know that you are residing in an alternate universe.

Have a nice day.


#18

Ok, ok, that was a bit tounge-and-cheek…lol


#19

BS. Forgetting about a purely chance introduction at the convention isn’t “lying” about it. I can tell you for certain that I’ve probably shaken the hand of an out-and-out Russian spy at some point in my career, but I didn’t know about it at the time and wouldn’t remember the meeting if asked about it under oath.


#20

I’m sorry, are we talking about Manafort? Or someone else?