President Donald Trump complicated the vote for Republicans on Thursday morning when he first tweeted seemingly in favor of repealing the surveillance tools, blaming FISA for being "used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign".
The U.S. House of Representatives voted against an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that would've made it harder for agencies to access information linked to Americans.
Two postings Thursday on Twitter by Trump came before the House was scheduled to vote later in the day on making changes to reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The White House, in a statement released Wednesday night by press secretary Sarah Sanders, said the Trump administration opposed the Amash-Lofgren bill and "urges the House to reject this amendment and preserve the useful role FISA's Section 702 authority plays in protecting American lives".
Phones at the White House began ringing nearly immediately after Trump wrote at 7:33 a.m. ET that the FISA program up for reauthorization in the House on Thursday may have been used to "badly surveil" his campaign.
In a follow-up tweet, Trump said that the reauthorization vote is "about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land" and that it is necessary to safeguard USA national security.
"We need it!" he said.
The president "knows" that's not what today's vote was and he clarified his position.
But the White House, in opposing those reforms, said the amendment would "re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that our country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11".
"Mr. President, this is not the way to go", he said at 6:47 a.m. ET.
"We allow information to be gathered on foreigners in foreign lands without the Constitution". A retired Marine general who has insisted that Trump's tweets don't have the potential to derail the administration's agenda, he denied again on Thursday that the President's dispatches were harmful. In a tweet Sen.
Supporters of the bill were furious with the Presidential whiplash over FISA. After those disclosures, the government declassified information about the programs and began publishing annual transparency reports about the use of the surveillance tools.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the existing versions of the House and Senate bills "allow for substantial warrantless backdoor searches of communications of law abiding Americans" under Section 702 of FISA. (Just for the record: I don't know it.) There might be articles and commentary written on the assumption that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did or did not use the dossier material with the FISA court, but right now it appears the information has not leaked, and those articles and commentary are based on assumptions rather than hard information.
If the Amash amendment doesn't pass, Massie vows to pledge "hell no" on the larger bill.
The legislation was supported by Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.