Earlier this year, Donald Trump claimed that the federal government had wiretapped him at Trump Tower during the campaign. It was a wildly incorrect false claim. But while Trump himself was never wiretapped, his reckless actions after the election appears to have gotten him wiretapped after all – and in the process, he might have incriminated himself on tape.
This evening, CNN reported that there was a FISA wiretap warrant for Paul Manafort both before and after the election. The first warrant covered the period of the election after Manafort had left the Trump campaign, when they continued to talk by phone. The second warrant covered the time after Trump took office and continued to talk with Manafort by phone. This means that the Feds certainly have tapes of the conversations between Trump and Manafort. Those tapes are in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hands.
Now it comes down to what the two men talked about during these wiretapped conversations. It’s known that Manafort told Trump near the end of the election that he should go to Michigan, a state which is widely suspected of having been focused on by the Russians. If Manafort’s advice to Trump included an admission that Russia had helped with Trump’s surprise upset in the state, then Trump is guilty of election collusion or worse. But the wiretapped conversations after the election may be more incriminating.
By the time Donald Trump and Paul Manafort were talking in 2017, Trump was the president and Manafort was under federal investigation. Their mutual decision to keep talking suggests that they were conspiring to try to get out of trouble. If so, Trump has nailed himself on obstruction and a few other charges.