In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” former George W. Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that President Donald Trump’s belief that he was being wiretapped in the waning days of President Barack Obama administration wasn’t necessarily as far-fetched as the media would like you to believe.
According to Reuters, President Trump made the accusation in a series of tweets Saturday morning, apparently referring to a report from conservative radio host Mark Levin. Intelligence officials and a spokesman for Obama both denied the charge.
“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate or against his campaign,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said.
However, Mukasey said that might just be a matter of wording.
“This is the difference between being correct and being right,” Mukasey said. “I think the president was not correct certainly in saying that President Obama ordered a tap on a server in Trump Tower. However, I think he’s right in that there was surveillance and that it was conducted at the behest of the attorney — of the Justice Department through the (Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act) court.”
Mukasey was referring, in part, to a FISA warrant reported on by The New York Times which dealt with a “mysterious back channel” between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization. The warrant was issued last October and the FBI found no evidence linking Trump to Russia.
“Now, what that means is this is part not of a criminal investigation, but of an intelligence-gathering investigation,” Mukasey said. “The FBI has got two functions. They investigate crimes and they gather intelligence. They started gathering intelligence in ’08 based on guidelines that we put in place.”
“They tried to get — apparently tried to get a wiretap based on their criminal investigation function in June. That was turned down. They then tried to get, and got, an order permitting them to conduct electronic surveillance in October.”
While Mukasey said the warrant could have been issued because there was “some basis to believe that somebody in Trump Tower may have been acting as an agent of the Russians, for whatever purpose, not necessarily the election, but for some purpose,” he said there might have been a more innocuous explanation.
“(T)he FBI keeps track of people who act as agents of foreign governments,” Mukasey said. “They keep track of people who act as agents of the Chinese, the Russians, the Israelis, everybody.”
You can see his comments here:
What Mukasey is saying is that while Obama wasn’t directly involved with the wiretapping, some level of surveillance from Obama’s Department of Justice or other organizations might have kept tabs on someone within Trump’s organization. If that’s true, it could take this investigation in a completely different direction.
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H/T The Daily Caller