The Wall Street Journal editorial board never minces words.
The conservative paper late Tuesday posted an editorial openly calling for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate wiretapping allegations involving top Trump aide Paul Manafort.
The paper says Mueller’s ties to the FBI and to its former director, James Comey, “make him too conflicted” to conduct the investigation. “Congress is charged with providing oversight of law enforcement and the FISA courts, and it has an obligation to investigate their role in 2016. The intelligence committees have subpoena authority and the ability to hold those who don’t cooperate in contempt.”
And the WSJ says Comey “investigated both leading presidential campaigns in an election year, playing the role of supposedly impartial legal authority. But his maneuvering to get Mr. Mueller appointed, and his leaks to the press, have shown that Mr. Comey is as political and self-serving as anyone in Washington. No investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 campaign will be credible or complete without the facts about all Mr. Comey’s wiretaps.”
Here’s an excerpt from the editorial:
CNN reported Monday that the FBI obtained a warrant last year to eavesdrop on Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager from May to August in 2016. The story claims the FBI first wiretapped Mr. Manafort in 2014 while investigating his work as a lobbyist for Ukraine’s ruling party. That warrant lapsed, but the FBI convinced the court that administers the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to issue a second order as part of its probe into Russian meddling in the election.
Guess who has lived in a condo in Trump Tower since 2006? Paul Manafort.
The story suggests the monitoring started in the summer or fall, and extended into early this year. While Mr. Manafort resigned from the campaign in August, he continued to speak with Candidate Trump. It is thus highly likely that the FBI was listening to the political and election-related conversations of a leading contender for the White House. That’s extraordinary—and worrisome.
Mr. Comey told Congress in late March that he “had no information that supports those [Trump] tweets.” Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was even more specific that “there was no such wiretap activity mounted against—the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.” He denied that any such FISA order existed. Were they lying?