Reports say that Trump Tower was actually wiretapped by the FBI years before Trump even ran for office. They are said to have been monitoring the activities of Russians at Trump Tower.
ABC News reports that from 2011 to 2013, the FBI monitored a Russian crime organization because of a court-sanctioned warrant. The group had “gambling ring” facilities three floors below the penthouse of the Tower, which was occupied by Donald Trump.
According to an NY Daily News report, the Feds listened in on Russian activities using wiretaps. This led to the federal indictment of more than 30 people, and a raid on the Trump Tower apartment. Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov was identified by the FBI as the mastermind of the operation. He has fled the country, as well as the US justice system.
The Russian gambling ring wiretap at Trump Tower comes in the midst of President Trump’s claims that former President Obama bugged the complex during the presidential campaign. However, the President has yet to provide proof. And, the intelligence community insists that the wiretap allegations are unfounded.
Months after the 2013 raid, ABC News notes, Tokhtakhunov was in the VIP section of Miss Universe Moscow not far from President Trump. The President had previously sold the rights to the Russian incarnation of the show to a billionaire developer based in the country.
“He is a major player,” Mike Gaeta, lead agent on the FBI investigation, said of Tokhtakhunov in 2014. “He is prominent, he has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries.”
Tokhtakhunov is accused of having run a major gambling ring — headquartered out of unit 63A of Trump Tower — that saw $50 million of illegal money come into the U.S., according to ABC News.
The President wasn’t named in the investigation, but his flagship skyscraper was under heavy surveillance.
Just a few floors below Trump’s home, ABC reported, prosecutors said there was an “international money laundering, sports gambling and extortion ring.”
Vadim Trincher, a Russian businessman and power player, lived in the 63rd-floor unit, and was sentenced to five years in jail for his illegal happenings at the tower.
“He would have people come in and meet with them,” said ABC News consultant and ex-FBI agent Rich Frankel. “He would use the phones … His base of operations was in the Trump Tower.”
Trump’s claim earlier this month that President Obama tapped his own residence in the months before the 2016 elections has proved to not be as successful.
National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey both testified before the House Intelligence Committee that there was no evidence the President’s home was secretly monitored in the lead up to last year’s election.
Last week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited a Fox News commentator’s claim that British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters carried out the surveillance of Trump’s home before the election, causing Great Britain to take offense. Despite reports in British media that the White House apologized for the statment, officials dismissed that notion, saying they merely spoke to British authorities about it.