We already know special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been digging through Paul Manafort's garbage and even conducted a raid on one of his homes earlier this year, but the full scope of information prosecutors may have on Manafort is coming into focus.
CNN reported last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved a wire tap of Manafort all the way back in 2014 which only lapsed for a brief period in 2016.
The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources.
The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.
Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI's efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
Aside from a brief period in early 2016, this means Robert Mueller has access to virtually all of Manafort's communications from the past 3 years.
With this information in mind, another report published by the New York Times last night makes more sense.
WASHINGTON — Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation.
It still seems a little strange to me that prosecutors would tell Manafort to his face that he would be indicted, but it does appear that they have all the goods on him. The FISA court does not approve wiretaps on Americans without a good reason to believe they're operating as a foreign agent.
I don't know why he hasn't been charged with anything yet unless putting him on the hot seat and letting him stew for a while is the whole point.
This is pure speculation, but it's possible he was told that he would be indicted as part of a warning not to leave the country.