On Tuesday, a CNN report seemed to confirm President Donald Trump's suspicions that the Obama administration issued surveillance on top members of Trump's campaign staff. CNN reported that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, was indeed spied upon during President Obama's tenure.
According to CNN, some of the intelligence obtained on Manafort included communications which drew investigators' concerns that he had "encouraged the Russians" to help with the campaign. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.
The FBI obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as part of the probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Manafort has been the subject of at least two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants - in 2014, and again previous year. They originally became interested in Manafort due to his consulting work on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russia former Ukrainian president who's been accused of corruption.
The subpoenaed former Manafort lawyer is Melissa Laurenza, a specialist in lobbying law, according to the Times sources.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, who lost the election to Mr Trump, said Monday that she "wouldn't rule out" questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election if evidence emerged of Russian interference.
Now, based on recent revelations offering an insight into the direction in which the probe is headed, experts claim that Mueller's probe has reached a critical stage - to the extent that they believe the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director might soon make allegations in public. Or Trump Tower digital chatter might have shown up while authorities dug through the vast quantities of data hoovered up via more sweeping foreign surveillance programs.
According to CNN, "The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump". 18 that the surveillance continued into the early part of 2017, when Manafort had long since left the Trump team but was still in communications with the President.
The intercepts were part of a wide ranging Federal Bureau of Investigation counter intelligence operation. A spokesperson for Manafort did not comment.
It's unclear whether Manafort has any incriminating information on Trump, who is a focus in at least one thread of Mueller's investigation. Among the most aggressive moves was a July 26 raid on Manafort's home in Virginia, in which F.B.I. agents searched the former political operative's property for evidence related to the Russian Federation probe on the same day Manafort was set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.