On the day of the 2016 presidential election, the Republican presidential candidate has received a FISA warrant to investigate Donald Trump’s private Russian email server, for national security purposes. According to Louise Mensch of Heat Street:
“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.”
The account is being investigated for possible banking offenses and ties to the Russian government, and, as the report claims, the FBI has rejected claims of an investigation in order to protect the Republican presidential nominee during the campaigning process. Last week, the director of the FBI, James Comey, released a vague memo about the investigation into the Clinton Foundation, causing many to come forward and say that Comey had broken the Hatch Law, which prohibits government officials from interfering with the democratic process.
Going there: if you are sued by Trump you won’t get discovery if he’s under FISA traps. ??
— Robert Caruso (@robertcaruso) October 13, 2016
The FBI agents who spoke with the NY Times likely did not have knowledge of an investigation because the criminal and counter-intelligence parts of the FBI work “independently,” and so, an agent from one department would not necessarily have knowledge about what another department is working on. The report continues:
“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.”
The FBI was reportedly “alarmed” when Carter Page took a trip to Moscow just one week before the DNC was hacked. The FBI later determined that the attack came from Russia, and soon after, Donald Trump claimed that there was no definite knowledge of who hacked the DNC while speaking at the third presidential debate.
— Tim (@russelltim151) November 6, 2016
National security lawyer, Bradley P. Moss, said this to Heat Street:
“If a FISA warrant was issued, it does not necessarily mean that the court considered any U.S. persons as literal ‘spies.’ I can imagine an argument having been made that there was probable cause to believe they were “agents of influence” who were unwittingly being influenced by a foreign power.” “If the operation concerns suspected money laundering involving a foreign government, the FISA warrant could theoretically encompass U.S. persons in that limited context. A FISA warrant is authorization to collect evidence, not to arrest.”
During that investigation, it became clear that Donald Trump’s private Russian server was communicating with Alpha Bank, which seemed very fishy and highly coincidental. According to Heat Street, “the FISA warrant was allegedly granted in part because of the involvement of Vladimir Putin’s own daughters. One is married to a senior official at Gazprom, where Carter Page and Paul Manafort reportedly have holdings; another to Kirill Shamalov, a banking official.” A FISA warrant is a warrant that calls for an investigation into foreign intelligence affairs. This means that Donald Trump is being investigated specifically for criminal communications and direct ties to Russia and dictator, Vladimir Putin.