Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Wednesday that he was unaware of a secret wiretap order issued against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort last year.
“Did you know about a FISA warrant against Paul Manafort at the time?” CNN’s Don Lemon asked Clapper in an interview Wednesday night.
“I did not,” Clapper replied.
The Obama administration official was asked about his knowledge of the warrant, issued last year under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), because of his denial back in March that the Obama administration obtained any FISA warrants on the Trump campaign.
The question came up at the time because President Trump had published a tweet accusing President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower.
In a March 5 interview on “Meet the Press,” Clapper said that he would have been aware of a FISA warrant on a member of the Trump campaign, even one granted to the FBI. And asked if such a warrant had been obtained, Clapper directly denied it.
“There was no such wire tap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign,” Clapper told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.
Asked by Todd if he would have been aware of a FISA order issued for someone affiliated with the Trump campaign, Clapper said “absolutely.”
Clapper unequivocally denied that a wiretap order was granted.
Clapper came under heavy criticism this week after CNN reported that U.S. investigators obtained a surveillance warrant against Manafort at some point before the election in November. The surveillance continued through this year.
The report was interpreted by some as a vindication of Trump’s claim back in March.
Clapper did not speculate in his interview with Lemon why he was kept out of the loop about the Manafort wiretap.