President Trump is threatening to blow up an extension of expiring intelligence programs as he backchannels with a cadre of top allies who want to use the bill to reform a shadowy surveillance court.
Congress has approximately 10 working days to reauthorize three expiring provisions of the USA Freedom Act, a 2015 bill that overhauled the country’s surveillance laws, with Attorney General William Barr and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) backing a “clean” extension.
But Trump threw a grenade into those already fragile plans Thursday when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told reporters that the president supports his effort to include broader reforms of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as part of any reauthorization of the intelligence programs.
“I’ve talked to the president, and I plan on insisting on getting a vote,” Paul said, asked by The Hill about including broader FISA reforms in a bill would authorize the expiring provisions of the USA Freedom Act.
Paul wants a vote on an amendment that would prevent FISA warrants from being used against Americans. Paul’s proposal would also prevent FISA information from being used against Americans in a domestic courtroom. The president, according to Paul, is supportive of his amendment.
Trump’s apparent support for including broader changes to the surveillance court associated with FISA comes as he’s railed repeatedly about his campaign being “spied” upon by the Obama-era FBI.” (Read more: The Hill, 2/27/2020) (Archive)