Paul Ryan was interviewed by Brett Baier last night and the subject of Donald Trump being the subject of a FISA warrant requested by the Obama administration came up. The exchange gets a little convoluted at times but in the end it might be significant.
BAIER: Are you concerned, on the flip side, that the Obama administration may have been surveilling members of the Trump campaign in a pretty detailed investigation during the election?
RYAN: Well, I don’t think that’s the case. If you recall, President Obama asked the intelligence community, after the election, to canvass all the intelligence and give a report to Congress on what Russia did do and all their interactions. And in that report, nobody alleged that there a person in America, like a Trump campaign official, involved with the Russians on this. So if they would have found that you would think they would have put that in the report that they gave us in early January.
BAIER: Right, but there’s a report, June 2016, there’s a FISA request by the Obama administration Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several other campaign officials. They get turned down. And then in October they renew it and they do start a wiretap with some computer and Russian banks and it doesn’t show up anything, by reporting. Have you heard that?
RYAN: Well, again, and like I said, none of us in Congress, or anybody I know in Congress, has been presented with evidence to the contrary of what you just said.
BAIER: So you believe it to be true?
RYAN: Yes. We have seen no evidence that anybody in this campaign, or any other Americans, was in on it with the Russians to meddle in our elections. We know they meddled. Russia’s and adversary. And that’s something we have to work to counteract.
BAIER: I got it. But my point is the Obama administration was pretty aggressive and a couple of FISA requests…
RYAN: I hear your point, and what I’m saying is I’ve seen nothing of that. I’ve seen nothing come of that, that is my point.
In the first exchange Ryan is on his talking points. The Baier asks him about the media reports on the subject. Ryan seems to answer in the affirmative that the reports are true and then returns to his talking points about no one in the campaign being in collusion with the Russians. Baier refocuses on the FISA warrants. Ryan acknowledges Baier’s point and says “I’ve seen nothing come of that.”
I’d be the last person to guess what happens inside Trump’s mind but if we put the pieces together it seems like Ryan is acknowledging that a FISA warrant was issued based on the story of a computer in Trump Tower communicating with a Russian computer. And the target was that incident rather than Trump or his staff. If that’s the case the allegation is not as serious as one of Trump himself being the target but it still raises a lot of questions about how that warrant was obtained considering that nothing came of the investigation.