The new Republican President has told the nation that President Obama had been tapping his phones in October, just prior to the presidential election. He cites as the source of the allegations a broadcast last Thursday by right wing talker, Mark Levin, that was also picked up by Breitbart and by Bret Baier on the Fox News Channel. It seems clear that on this matter the Twitterer In Chief is out of the loop.
It is routine for there to be continuing surveillance by the national intelligence services on foreign nationals registered as diplomats inside the US, and on foreign nationals suspected to be involved with intelligence gathering within the United States. This kind of surveillance is done without warrants and it extends to communications that come from outside the United States into the United States. Essentially, as to the Russians, we monitor them and they monitor us. The rules governing this sort of intelligence gathering comes from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), 50 U.S.C. Chapter 36.
The rules change if, as part of their routine surveillance on foreign intelligence operatives, the FBI, or the intelligence community, picks up communications from American citizens. President Bush learned after responding to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon our country, that the President of the United States does not have the authority to authorize warrantless surveillance on American citizens.
“The Federal Government must possess a warrant for wiretapping practices.”
Warrantless surveillance on American citizens by the intelligence services has also been ruled not to be legal. Surveillance on the telephone conversations of American citizens no matter where they originate require a warrant.
We now have admissions from Attorney General Sessions and from Carter Page admitting to meeting the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, at the same Heritage Foundation luncheon in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 20, 2016, during the Republican National Convention. There are also long standing and extensive ties between Paul Manafort, the Ukrainians, and the Russians.
Attorney General Sessions and the White House have also revealed that then Senator Sessions,
“Met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”
Then there is this recent, potentially explosive revelation from the Republican candidate’s campaign national security policy representative for the Republican National Convention, J.D. Gordon, who reversed his previous public statements on the reason why the Republican Platform was amended so as not to include a plank calling for the United States to arm the Ukraine with more lethal weapons.
“Gordon said that at the RNC he and others ‘advocated for the GOP platform to include language against arming Ukrainians against pro-Russian rebels’ because ‘this was in line with Trump’s views, expressed at a March national security meeting at the unfinished Trump hotel’ in Washington, DC.”
The second ex-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is believed to be the architect of the Republican platform position regarding Ukraine.
There have also been unconfirmed reports that the candidate wanted this change in the platform because of a promise that the Russians would help the campaign win the election. Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager, using Carter Page and others, is believed to have been the liaison between the campaign and representatives of the Russian government. This alleged quid pro quo seems to have been complete soon after the Republican platform was announced on July 18, 2016. One week later, the Wikileaks stolen DNC email dumps alleging rigging the Democratic nominating process against Sanders began.
Consider too the curious public statement by the Republican Presidential candidate made on July 27, 2016,
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
Of course he was wrong, as the emails were not missing, instead having been deleted, and according to FBI Director James Comey, they all were recovered and read.
There has been a still to be confirmed report of connections between a server located in the new President’s Manhattan Tower that has been alleged to be in communication with certain Russian banks. This connection could implicate the President’s son, Donald, Jr, and the entire family, with business relationship in Russia dating back some 30 years. Son-in-law, Jared Kushner, could also be implicated considering his involvement with the campaign and the recent revelation that he attended a meeting with General Flynn and the Russian Ambassador in December at the President’s Manhattan Tower.
The new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and former campaign adviser, Carter Page, both have extensive connections to Russia through their business dealings. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, was the Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cypress. The bank is alleged to be a conduit through which Vladimir Putin and other Russian government officials use to funnel money out of Russia, as well as being a source for loans to the last Republican candidate’s presidential campaign.
We know that the FBI first tried to warn the DNC about potential hacking in September 2015, and that Russia had already penetrated the DNC computers at that time, so it does not appear that the entry into the DNC system came through the Sanders campaign. However, can we speculate that the Russians might have turned the keys to breaching the DNC system over to Jill Stein on December 10, 2015 in Moscow, and those keys were then delivered to the Sanders campaign allowing them to obtain data, as reported December 18, 2015. If so, is it possible that Jill Stein and operatives of Senator Sanders also came under surveillance?
Multiple operatives of the campaign and of the transition team have had numerous, documented, and admitted contacts with representatives of the Russian government, possibly including Russian intelligence operatives. Some of these individuals went on to become members of the administration who may have lied to if not misled the United States Senate. Some of them may have lied to the FBI when interviewed.
The dots are connecting and the picture that is developing strongly suggests that the FBI and the intelligence community were actively investigating the campaign, the transition team, and that the candidate himself might very well have become a target as early as March, 2016. Even if not then, by July 27, 2016, he may have made himself a target; thus, the reasons for a possible request for FISA warrants in July. As the evidence mounted, a possible October request for expanded FISA warrants to include the server located inside the President’s Manhattan Tower, along with the President’s family members, as well as others, may very well have been made.
Mark Levin, Breitbart, Brett Baier, and the rest of the alt right media need to be reminded that the President doesn’t get involved with the requests for surveillance or the FISA warrants. As Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, when asked by Bret Baier if the last President of the United States had been wiretapping the future president, said,
The new Republican President could ask for an investigation to be initiated and would be briefed and provided with a report upon request, if not at the conclusion of the investigation. Of course, if investigations into these matters exist, and FISA warrants were authorized, and the new President was or remains a target of these investigations, then he would be barred from being briefed on the investigation and any reports pertaining thereto.
The idea of “wiretaps” on the “phones” of the Republican candidate for President is archaic and ludicrous. The intelligence services now have far more sophisticated and intrusive technologies at their disposal. This President demeans himself, and us all, through these and other tweets. He could chose to avail himself of an intelligence briefing on the matter, but a briefing on this particular matter might not include a complete picture of the situation. If the President of the United States is in fact a target of an investigation, then the Twitterer in Chief would have to be kept out of the loop.