A legal United States Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance operation directed at Russian money-launderers may have captured Donald Trump on tape in conversation with an alleged spy for Russia, according to a report by the journalist who broke the story of a secret FISA court warrant aimed at the Trump campaign last November.
The tapes, if they exist, would be part of an FBI investigation into the connections between Trump, his campaign, and Russian officials — including the possibility that Moscow was secretly funneling money into the Trump presidential campaign. On Monday, March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed in sworn testimony that the Bureau was indeed investigating the possible connections between Trump and Russia.
U.S.-based British journalist Louise Mensch published the allegations, which she labeled "informed speculation," on her Patribotics blog on Tuesday morning. To read Mensch's entire article, "Kushner and Trump: Taped At Secret Trump Tower Meetings With Russians?" visit the Patribotics blog at this link. For a summary of the Trump-Russia scandal in the form of a short video, see the previous Inquisitr story at this link.
On the News Corporation-owned news site Heat Street, Mensch reported on November 7 — one day before the 2016 presidential election that saw Trump pull off a surprise victory, despite garnering only a minority of actual votes — that the FBI had been granted a warrant from the secret Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court to eavesdrop on communication involving two Russian banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank.
A computer server inside of Trump Tower in New York City was found to be communicating directly with Alfa Bank, leading to the warrant, Mensch reported at the time.
The warrant, the journalist reported, was part of an FBI counterintelligence investigation into "the activities of 'U.S. persons' in Donald Trump's campaign with ties to Russia." According to BBC Washington correspondent Paul Wood in a separate report which may be accessed at this link, the warrant was issued on October 15.
While the warrant does not name Trump or any of his associates — FISA warrants are directed at foreign entities — Wood reported the intelligence sources told him that "it's clear this is about Trump," and that three Trump associates were targets of the investigation, and that the investigation centered around "allegations that the Kremlin paid money to (Trump's) campaign through his associates."
Mensch, in her Tuesday report, wrote that she believes both Trump and his son-in-law — who Trump has named one of his top White House advisors — 36-year-old New York real estate heir Jared Kushner were caught on tape as part of the investigation in conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak as well as top Russian banker Sergei Gorkov, who graduated in 1994 from the Russian Academy of the Federal Security Service, generally known as the FSB — the Russia state security service formerly known in the Cold War era as the KGB.
Kislyak also has been named as a top recruiter of spies for Russia, though Moscow has denied that the Russian ambassador is a spy.
"I believe that legal FISA intercepts involve not only Jared Kushner talking to Russian spies but also, because Trump called in to this secret meeting or meetings within Trump Tower, Donald J. Trump," Mensch wrote in her Tuesday Patribotics post.
When Trump was informed — illegally — that he was captured on tape as part of the investigation, he panicked and posted messages on his Twitter account accusing President Barack Obama of "having my wires tapped." But Comey, in his sworn testimony, said that the FBI had no evidence that would support Trump's claim that Obama directed that he be the target of wiretapping.
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