Manafort Responds To The FBI: 'Release The Tapes'

Meanwhile, Muller says Manafort probe goes back more than a decade.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort accused the FBI of wrongdoing and demanded the Department of Justice "release the tapes" they've collected, in response to a CNN report from Monday, revealing Manafort was the subject of several secretive FBI wiretaps.

According to a spokesman, Manafort is demanding that the FBI "release the intercepts," and "immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks." The statement goes on to note that leaking information about the FISA court is a Federal crime, and blames the "previous administration" for undertaking the effort in order to "surveil a political opponent."

Manafort's spokesman notes that no charges were ever filed pursuant to the FBI's investigation, which leads Manafort to the conclusion that "there is nothing there."

That may be hyperbolic, but it's certainly true, at least, that Manafort is increasingly looking like the Mueller team's major target. According to another CNN report released Wednesday, the Special Counsel is digging deep into Manafort's past, and the team has requested materials that date back to 2006, and files from a three-year FBI investigation against Manafort, focusing on the then-consultant's work with a Putin-supported regime in the Ukraine.

That could indicate that Mueller thinks a Russian plan to meddle in US elections goes further back than the Trump campaign, and that the events of 2016 were part of a larger, multi-year scheme designed to undermine America's political process.

This is both good and bad news for Trump: it's good in the sense that it likely means Mueller considers Trump's own campaign a potential victim of Russia's meddling, instead of a firm collaborator. It's bad news in the sense that Trump's hapless campaign team may have been drawn into the scheme further than previously reported, even if they didn't actually intend to collaborate with Russia to fix the Presidential election, and that might mean more indictments than just Manafort.

It's the worst news, perhaps, for former President Barack Obama, who failed to consider Russia a geo-political enemy until after his preferred candidate lost the US election, and scoffed at the idea in the 2012 elections.

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