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Members of the Donald Trump transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under U.S. government surveillance following November’s presidential election, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday.
Nunes said the surveillance appeared to be legal but that he was concerned because it was not related to the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and was widely disseminated across the intelligence community.
“I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored,” Nunes told reporters. “It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.”
Nunes said he is heading to the White House later Wednesday to brief Trump on what he has learned, which he said came from “sources who thought that we should know it.” He said he was trying to get more information by Friday from the FBI, CIA and NSA.
Nunes described the surveillance as most likely being “incidental collection.” This can occur when a person inside the United States communicates with a foreign target of U.S. surveillance. In such cases, the identities of U.S. citizens are supposed to be kept secret — but can be “unmasked” by intelligence officials under certain circumstances.
Nunes said his new information appears to show that additional members of the Trump transition team — beyond former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — were unmasked. This means they were identified in U.S. intelligence reports.
He said the information that he had seen and was disseminated across the intelligence community appeared to him to have “little or no apparent intelligence value.”
These concerns focus on millions of dollars that Comey accepted from a Clinton Foundation defense contractor, Comey’s former membership on a Clinton Foundation corporate partner’s board, and his surprising financial relationship with his brother Peter Comey, who works at the law firm that does the Clinton Foundation’s taxes.
When President Obama nominated Comey to become FBI director in 2013, Comey promised the United States Senate that he would recuse himself on all cases involving former employers.
But Comey earned $6 million in one year alone from Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin became a Clinton Foundation donor that very year.
Comey served as deputy attorney general under John Ashcroft for two years of the Bush administration. When he left the Bush administration, he went directly to Lockheed Martin and became vice president, acting as a general counsel.
How much money did James Comey make from Lockheed Martin in his last year with the company, which he left in 2010? More than $6 million in compensation.
Lockheed Martin is a Clinton Foundation donor. The company admitted to becoming a Clinton Global Initiative member in 2010.
In 2010, Lockheed Martin won 17 approvals for private contracts from the Hillary Clinton State Department.
In 2013, Comey became a board member, a director, and a Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee member of the London bank HSBC Holdings.
“Mr. Comey’s appointment will be for an initial three-year term which, subject to re-election by shareholders, will expire at the conclusion of the 2016 Annual General Meeting,” according to HSBC company records.
HSBC Holdings and its various philanthropic branches routinely partner with the Clinton Foundation. For instance, HSBC Holdings has partnered with Deutsche Bank through the Clinton Foundation to “retrofit 1,500 to 2,500 housing units, primarily in the low- to moderate-income sector” in “New York City.”
“Retrofitting” refers to a Green initiative to conserve energy in commercial housing units. Clinton Foundation records show that the Foundation projected “$1 billion in financing” for this Green initiative to conserve people’s energy in low-income housing units.
Who Is Peter Comey?
When our source called the Chinatown offices of D.C. law firm DLA Piper and asked for “Peter Comey,” a receptionist immediately put him through to Comey’s direct line. But Peter Comey is not featured on the DLA Piper website.
Peter Comey serves as “Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas” for DLA Piper. James Comey was not questioned about his relationship with Peter Comey in his confirmation hearing.
DLA Piper is the firm that performed the independent audit of the Clinton Foundation in November during Clinton-World’s first big push to put the email scandal behind them. DLA Piper’s employees taken as a whole represent a major Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign donation bloc and Clinton Foundation donation base.
DLA Piper ranks #5 on Hillary Clinton’s all-time career Top Contributors list, just ahead of Goldman Sachs.
And here is another thing: Peter Comey has a mortgage on his house that is owned by his brother James Comey, the FBI director.
Peter Comey’s financial records, obtained by Breitbart News, show that he bought a $950,000 house in Vienna, Virginia, in June 2008. He needed a $712,500 mortgage from First Savings Mortgage Corporation.
But on January 31, 2011, James Comey and his wife stepped in to become Private Party lenders. They granted a mortgage on the house for $711,000. Financial records suggest that Peter Comey took out two such mortgages from his brother that day.
This financial relationship between the Comey brothers began prior to James Comey’s nomination to become director of the FBI.
DLA Piper did not answer Breitbart News’ question as to whether James Comey and Peter Comey spoke at any point about this mortgage or anything else during the Clinton email investigation.
Peter Comey Re-Designed the FBI Building
FBI Director James Comey grew up in the New Jersey suburbs with his brother Peter. Both Comeys were briefly taken captive in 1977 by the “Ramsey rapist,” but the boys managed to escape through a window in their home, and neither boy was harmed.
James Comey became a prosecutor who worked on the Gambino crime family case. He went on to the Bush administration, a handful of private sector jobs, and then the Obama administration in 2013.
Peter Comey, meanwhile, went into construction.
After getting an MBA in real estate and urban development from George Washington University in 1998, Peter Comey became an executive at a company that re-designed George Washington University between 2004 and 2007 while his brother was in town working for the Bush administration.
In January 2009, at the beginning of the Obama administration, Peter Comey became “a real estate and construction consultant” for Procon Consulting.
Procon Consulting’s client list includes “FBI Headquarters Washington, DC.”
So what did Procon Consulting do for FBI Headquarters? Quite a bit, apparently. According to the firm’s records:
Procon provided strategic project management for the consolidation of over 11,000 FBI personnel into one, high security, facility.
Since 1972 the Federal Bureau of Investigation has had its headquarters in a purpose built 2.1 million square foot building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Having become functionally obsolete and in need of major repairs, GSA and the FBI were considering ways to meet the space needs required to maintain the Bureau’s mission and consolidate over 11,000 personnel.
Procon assisted GSA in assessing the FBI’s space needs and options for fulfilling those needs. Services provided included project management related to site evaluations, budgeting, due diligence, and the development of procurement and funding strategies.
Those “funding strategies” included talking to “stakeholders”: “Worked with stakeholders and key leadership to identify strategic objectives, goals and long range plans for capital and real estate projects.”
Procon Consulting obtained its contract for FBI Headquarters prior to James Comey’s nomination to serve as director of the FBI.
In June 2011, Peter Comey left Procon Consulting to become “Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas” for DLA Piper.
Two real estate services businesses filed a $10 million suit against the law firm Monday alleging it stiffed them on as much as $760,000 of work done at DLA Piper’s Chicago office and improperly gave proprietary information to a competitor.
The plaintiffs take particular aim at Peter Comey, DLA Piper’s senior director of real estate operations. Leasecorp and SpaceLogik include several emails in the complaint that are purportedly from DLA Piper senior real estate partners Jay Epstein and Rich Klawiter and are sharply critical of Comey’s handling of the matter. In one email, Epstein wrote that “it’s an embarrassment for the firm to be treating someone who we are working with like this.”
In another email allegedly from Klawiter on Feb. 20, the DLA Piper partner informed Leasecorp President Michael Walker, a principal for both plaintiffs, that Comey had sent him and Epstein an email claiming that the real estate services firms were behind on their contractual obligations.
“I just received an email from Peter (Jay was also a recipient) that is so inflammatory I can’t even send it or you’ll hit the roof,” Klawiter said in the email, according to the complaint. “This is not going to end well.”
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.
Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said.
A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department, also declined to comment.
Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.
The White House showed no indication that it would back down from Mr. Trump’s claims. On Sunday, the president demanded a congressional inquiry into whether Mr. Obama had abused the power of federal law enforcement agencies before the 2016 presidential election. In a statement from his spokesman, Mr. Trump called “reports” about the wiretapping “very troubling” and said Congress should examine them as part of its investigations into Russia’s meddling in the election.
In addition to being concerned about potential attacks on the bureau’s credibility, senior F.B.I. officials are said to be worried that the notion of a court-approved wiretap will raise the public’s expectations that the federal authorities have significant evidence implicating the Trump campaign in colluding with Russia’s efforts to disrupt the presidential election.
Mr. Comey has not been dealing directly with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the matter, as Mr. Sessions announced on Thursday that he would recuse himself from any investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence the election. It had been revealed on Wednesday that Mr. Sessions had misled Congress about his meetings with the Russian ambassador during the campaign.
Mr. Comey’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering is certain to invite contrasts to his actions last year, when he spoke publicly about the Hillary Clinton email case and disregarded Justice Department entreaties not to.
It is not clear why Mr. Comey did not issue a statement himself. He is the most senior law enforcement official who was kept on the job as the Obama administration gave way to the Trump administration. And while the Justice Department applies for intelligence-gathering warrants, the F.B.I. keeps its own records and is in a position to know whether Mr. Trump’s claims are true. While intelligence officials do not normally discuss the existence or nonexistence of surveillance warrants, no law prevents Mr. Comey from issuing the statement.
In his demand for a congressional inquiry, the president, through his press secretary, Sean Spicer, issued a statement on Sunday that said, “President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”
Mr. Spicer, who repeated the entire statement in a series of Twitter posts, added that “neither the White House nor the president will comment further until such oversight is conducted.”
A spokesman for Mr. Obama and his former aides have called the accusation by Mr. Trump completely false, saying that Mr. Obama never ordered any wiretapping of a United States citizen.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Kevin Lewis, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, said in a statement on Saturday.
Mr. Trump’s demand for a congressional investigation appears to be based, at least in part, on unproven claims by Breitbart News and conservative talk radio hosts that secret warrants were issued authorizing the tapping of the phones of Mr. Trump and his aides at Trump Tower in New York.
In a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, the president seemed to be convinced that those claims were true. In one post, Mr. Trump said, “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
On Sunday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, said the president was determined to find out what had really happened, calling it potentially the “greatest abuse of power” that the country had seen.
“Look, I think he’s going off of information that he’s seen that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential,” Ms. Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And if it is, this is the greatest overreach and the greatest abuse of power that I think we have ever seen and a huge attack on democracy itself. And the American people have a right to know if this took place.”
The claims about wiretapping appear similar in some ways to the unfounded voter fraud charges that Mr. Trump made during his first days in the Oval Office. Just after Inauguration Day, he reiterated in a series of Twitter posts his belief that millions of voters had cast ballots illegally — claims that also appeared to be based on conspiracy theories from right-wing websites.
As with his demand for a wiretapping inquiry, Mr. Trump called for a “major investigation” into voter fraud, saying on Twitter that “depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!” No investigation has been started.
Senior law enforcement and intelligence officials who worked in the Obama administration have said that there were no secret intelligence warrants regarding Mr. Trump. Asked whether such a warrant existed, James R. Clapper Jr., a former director of national intelligence, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “Not to my knowledge, no.”
“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, as a candidate or against his campaign,” Mr. Clapper added.
Mr. Trump’s demands for a congressional investigation were initially met with skepticism by lawmakers, including Republicans. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said he was “not sure what it is that he is talking about.”
“I’m not sure what the genesis of that statement was,” Mr. Rubio said.
Pressed to elaborate on “Meet the Press,” Mr. Rubio said, “I’m not going to be a part of a witch hunt, but I’m also not going to be a part of a cover-up”
Obama’s spokesman Kevin Lewis released a statement Saturday afternoon refuting Trump’s wire-tapping claims.
‘A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,’ Lewis wrote.
‘As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.’
Lewis’ statement comes shortly after Trump fired off a flurry of tweets early Saturday morning claiming that the former president had been spying on him in October, a month before his election victory.
‘Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!’
McCarthyism, which the president used in his first tweet, is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.
Trump started tweeting shortly after 3.30am ET and posed the question: ‘Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election?’
In another tweet Trump said it was a ‘new low’ for the former president, compared it to ‘Nixon/Watergate’ and calling Obama a ‘bad (or sick) guy’.
Ben Rhodes, the former policy advisor for Obama, also blasted Trump’s accusations on Twitter: ‘No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.’
Rhodes shot back at another Trump tweet saying: ‘Dear Pundits who lauded his speech. Is it still ‘presidential’ to call your dignified predecessor ‘Bad (or sick) guy!’
But Ben Rhodes, the former policy advisor for Obama, blasted Trump’s accusations on Twitter: ‘No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you’
Trump also linked Obama to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings last year with Russia’s US ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
‘The first meeting Jeff Sessions had with the Russian Amb was set up by the Obama Administration under education program for 100 Ambs,’ he tweeted.
Trump’s team has sought to push back over its connections to Russian officials by pointing out instances of Democrats meeting with Kislyak.
But a former senior intelligence official told The Washington Post that ‘it’s highly unlikely there was a wiretap’.
‘It seems unthinkable. If that were the case by some chance, that means that a federal judge would have found that there was either probable cause that he had committed a crime or was an agent of a foreign power,’ the official said.
According to the official, a wiretap cannot be directed at a US facility, without finding probable cause that the phone lines or internet addresses were being used by agents of a foreign power.
‘You can’t just go around and tap buildings,’ the official told the Post.
Another former senior US official, who worked under the Obama administration, told CNN there was no such investigation of Trump, nor were his phones tapped.
‘This did not happen. It is false. Wrong,’ the former official said.
The official echoed that of others saying Obama could not have ordered this and adding that it would have been taken to a judge by investigators, but investigators never did that.
The president, who is currently vacationing at his private Mar-a-Lago estate, did not provide any additional evidence to back up his claims.
A spokesperson for Obama did not immediately reply to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.
Trump seemed to be referring to a Thursday evening radio show hosted by Mark Levin that claimed Obama executed a ‘silent coup’ of Trump via ‘police state’ tactics, according to far-right Breitbart News.
Through a timeline, Levin suggested the former president should be the target of congressional investigation.
Trump tweeted that the former president had been spying on him in October, a month before his election victory
The president, who is currently vacationing at his private Mar-a-Lago estate (pictured), did not provide any additional evidence to back up his claims. Obama has not responded to the accusations
During the summer last year, the Obama administration filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Trump and several advisers but the request was denied, according to Heat Street former editor, Louise Mensch.
Just a day before the 2016 election, Mensch reported that ‘sources with links to the counter-intelligence community’ confirmed that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) had granted a FISA court warrant in October to monitor activities in Trump tower.
On Wednesday, a New York Times report said White House officials took efforts in the closing days of the Obama administration to analyze and spread information about Russian election interference, driven by a concern that the material might get buried by Trump.
Intelligence agencies rushed to analyze raw intelligence material about Russia connections, going over months-old material as the extent and possible motives of what the agencies say is Russian election hacking emerged.
Officials made efforts to ask specific questions at intelligence briefings as a way to get the information into the record and be archived for examination later.
In January, American law enforcement and intelligence agencies examined intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of Trump, according to the Times.
The FBI led the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit.
Trump also linked Obama to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings last year with Russia’s US ambassador
1. In June 2016, the Obama administration filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Trump and several advisers but the request was denied, according to Heat Street former editor, Louise Mensch.
2. In October, the Obama administration submitted a new FISA request, which focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russia, according to Heat Street.
4. In January 2017, Christopher Steele was named as ex-MI6 agent behind ‘fake’ Trump sex dossier. None of the allegations were verified and some were proven false. Also in January, the Obama administration expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.
5. In January 2017, American law enforcement and intelligence agencies examined intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of Trump, according to the Times.
6. The Times also reported in January that White House officials took efforts in the closing days of the Obama administration to analyze and spread information about Russian election interference, driven by a concern that the material might get buried by Trump.
7. A month later, ex- National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was forced to resign from his position following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia.
8. Also in February, phone records and intercepted calls showed that members of Trump’s campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, the Times reported.
9. In March, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed himself from all investigations involving the presidential campaign in a stunning turnaround to save his job on Thursday afternoon. It was revealed that he didn’t tell Congress about his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the US. He then announced he was recusing himself from all investigations connected to the presidential election.
Investigators found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said.
One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
As the news spread about Trump’s allegations, many government officials took to social media to respond.
South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham, spoke on Trump’s accusations at a Town Hall on Saturday.
‘I am very worried that our president is suggesting that the former president has done something illegally,’ Graham told his audience.
‘I would be very worried if in fact the Obama administration was able to obtain a warrant lawfully about Trump campaign activity with foreign governments.
In other words, the he Obama administration would have only been able to lawfully obtain a warrant for a wire tap, if a judge found probably cause that Trump was engaging in criminal activity.
Democrats have also responded to Trump’s claims, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who Trump recently demanded by investigated after she said she hadn’t met the current Russian ambassador, only to be revealed to have met him in a 2010 photo.
Pelosi hit back at Trump’s demands of an ‘immediate’ investigation by tweeting: ‘The Deflector-in-Chief is at it again. An investigation by an independent commission is the only answer.’
Others have also responded to Trump’s claims, including Ted Lieu, a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, representing California’s 33rd congressional district
Nancy Pelosi, who Trump recently demanded by investigated after she said she hadn’t met the current Russian ambassador, also responded to Trump’s claims
Former Vermont Gov Howard Dean also tweeted shortly after Trump’s accusation made headlines
The Trump administration has come under increasing pressure over its connections to Russian officials.
Earlier this week, Sessions recused himself from any investigations involving the presidential election after it was revealed he twice met with Kislyak during the campaign.
When Trump was asked if he knew Sessions had met Kislyak before the election, he said: ‘I wasn’t aware at all.’
The president’s extraordinary intervention came as Sessions faced a firestorm over whether he lied to the Senate during confirmation hearings by failing to disclose his two meetings last summer.
But the president also said he has ‘total’ confidence in his attorney general and does not think he should recuse himself from Justice Department investigations involving Russia.
‘I don’t think so,’ he told reporters asking about recusal on Thursday as he visited the USS Gerard R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia.
Despite saying he did not know of the meetings with Kislyak, he stood by Sessions as he took fire from Democrats for failing to disclose the conversations during his confirmation hearing.
Asked if Sessions told a Senate panel the truth about the communications, Trump gave only a half-hearted endorsement, however.
‘I think he probably did,’ Trump said.
A White House spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton confidant, helped steer $675,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an FBI official who went on to lead the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system, according to a report.
The political action committee of McAuliffe, the Clinton loyalist, gave $467,500 to the state Senate campaign of the wife of Andrew McCabe, who is now deputy director of the FBI, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report states Jill McCabe received an additional $207,788 from the Virginia Democratic Party, which is heavily influenced by McAuliffe.
The money directed by McAuliffe began flowing two months after the FBI investigation into Clinton began in July 2015. Around that time, the candidate’s husband was promoted from running the Washington field office for the FBI to the No. 3 position at the bureau.
Within a year, McCabe was promoted to deputy director, the second-highest position in the bureau.
In a statement to the Journal, the FBI said McCabe “played no role, attended no events, and did not participate in fundraising or support of any kind. Months after the completion of her campaign, then-Associate Deputy Director McCabe was promoted to Deputy, where, in that position, he assumed for the first time, an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails.”
The governor’s office claimed the FBI’s McCabe met the governor only once — on March 7, 2015, when McAuliffe persuaded Jill McCabe to run.
The 2015 Virginia state Senate run — her first attempt to gain public office — was unsuccessful as she lost to the incumbent Republican.
McAuliffe “supported Jill McCabe because he believed she would be a good state senator. This is a customary practice for Virginia governors … Any insinuation that his support was tied to anything other than his desire to elect candidates who would help pass his agenda is ridiculous,” a spokesman for the Virginia governor told the Journal.
McAuliffe has been a longtime backer of the Clintons, even serving as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair in 2008.