The recently-released memos from former FBI Director James Comey revealed that Michael Flynn was under FISA surveillance while he was working for Donald Trump. They discuss at length the pressure Trump put on Comey to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn.
One aspect of these memos (and Trump’s subsequent bizarre behavior) has not been widely reported but is of critical importance in determining the fate of Trump’s presidency. And that is this: Trump may be getting paranoid that his conversations might have been listened to and recorded by the FBI. That is, he may been caught on FISA surveillance instructing Flynn to commit crimes in the Trump-Russia scandal.
We already know that Carter Page was under FISA surveillance. This means that “a judge ruled that there was probable cause that a member of Trump’s campaign was an agent of Russia.”
In January we reported that Mike Flynn was meeting with the FBI while working in the White House and “Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that she doesn’t know when the last time was that Trump talked to Flynn.” The fact that Trump doesn’t remember when he talked to Flynn, but those conversations may have been recorded by the FBI, is probably keeping him up at night.
One thing that’s clear is that Trump has no knowledge or understanding about FISA warrants and what kind of evidence they are used to gather. He’s just dumb enough to fall into the FBI’s trap himself.
It has now been disclosed that Trump has started to use his personal smartphone much more. According to CNN:
“While Trump never entirely gave up his personal cell phone once Kelly came aboard, one source close to the White House speculated that the President is ramping up the use of his personal device recently in part because “he doesn’t want Kelly to know who he’s talking to.” The senior White House official said Trump “is talking to all sorts of people on it,” noting Trump’s barrage of private calls is a “recent development.”
This “recent development” coincides with the FBI raid on Michael Cohen’s office and the release of the Comey memos. So besides tweeting, what’s going on is that Trump is making personal calls on his cell phone to prevent anyone, including Kelly, from knowing who he is talking to. But cell phone calls can be listened to, and Trump doesn’t seem to know that.
His cell phone calls could be monitored not only by the FBI but by Russia or any other foreign country.
Mary McCord, who used to head the Justice Department’s national security division, says “smartphones of high-level government officials — including the President — are obvious targets for foreign intelligence services.”
“Use of personal smartphones, which may not have all of the security features of government-issued smartphones or be regularly updated to address newly discovered vulnerabilities, present an obvious potential security risk.” She said the President’s increased cell phone use makes his calls more vulnerable to eavesdropping from foreign governments.
But what Trump doesn’t appear to realize is that Mueller and the FBI can get (and may already have gotten) a FISA surveillance warrant to tap Trump’s cellphone. All they need to do is show probably cause to get a judge to approve it. A FISA warrant may already exist, and Trump would have no way to know about it. His increased cell phone means a greater likelihood that those conversations will be picked up by surveillance.
So far we know there have been FISA warrants against former Trump advisers Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page. It makes sense to think that there might be more in existence that nobody knows about.
Trump doesn’t seem to understand that many of his shady “unofficial” advisers he is talking to on his personal cell phone may be under FISA surveillance warrant.
If Trump is secretly using his cell phone now to plot obstruction of justice or other crimes with people outside the White House there is an excellent chance that those phone calls are being recorded by the FBI.
The more Donald Trump tries to outsmart Mueller and the FBI the deeper the hole that he digs for himself. It’s just a matter of time until all of his secrets are revealed and his world comes crashing down on top of him.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.