Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said this in December, in a closed-door hearing of the House Judiciary Committee (on pages 66-67 of this transcript, released a few days ago):

I want to talk about the spring, summer, and autumn of 2016. Carter Page, at the time, was suspected of being a Russian asset; George Papadopoulos had told the Australian ambassador that Russians had Hillary emails; Paul Manafort had been named Trump campaign manager; Michael Flynn was Trump’s chief national security adviser and foreign policy adviser and, just yesterday, had a continuance in his sentencing. One thing that all of these persons had in common was that each was the subject of a FISA court investigation, which we now know, and all were directly connected to Trump.

Now it is public knowledge that as part of its Trump-Russia investigation, the FBI obtained a surveillance warrant on Carter Page from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court); the warrant application was released in July. But my question is, is Congresswoman Jackson-Lee right that George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn were also subjects of FISA warrant applications?


1 Answer 1


Comey testified that the FBI was investigating Flynn, Manafort, Page, and Papadopoulos, however the FBI application for a FISA wiretap was turned down and they were told to narrow the focus. A later attempt was granted. Page is the only American to have had his communications directly targeted with a FISA warrant in 2016 as part of the Russia probe, officials said.

  • Manafort was subject to a FISA wiretap, but seems to be the only one of those 4 confirmed so far besides Page.

    A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party, the sources told CNN.

  • Papadopoulos claims he was, but this seems to be false:

    By then, the FBI had already opened a counterintelligence investigation into Papadopoulos, after being tipped off by Australian authorities that Papadopoulos had confided in an Australian diplomat back in May about Russia having emails incriminating Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. (Papadopoulos has also claimed to have been the target of a FISA warrant, though that’s not known to be the case.)

    I didn't find anything to show Papadopoulos was covered by the FISA warrant. He was mentioned in the application but does not appear to have been a target (Page was the target). Since they had to get a narrower FISA warrant and officials say Page was the only American targeted by a FISA warrant in 2016 for the Russia probe this seems to be false.

  • Flynn does not appear to have been the target of a FISA wiretap, but may have been: Comey was asked before he was fired if there was a FISA wiretap on Flynn. His response was redacted.

    Later in the conversation, Mr. Priebus asked Mr. Comey if their discussion was private. When the director replied that it was, the White House chief of staff asked whether the F.B.I. had ever wiretapped Mr. Flynn.

    Mr. Comey told Mr. Priebus that the question was inappropriate and should be directed through other channels. His response was redacted.

    Some of Flynn's communications were intercepted by a wiretap of former Russian ambassador Kislyak, so his intercepted communications aren't evidence he was the target of a wiretap.

Overall, it's plausible but doesn't seem confirmed. It's possible she meant that they were subject to an investigation which had FISA wiretaps but not that each individual in that investigation was subject to the wiretaps.

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