Trump Informs GOP Senator He Does Not Support House Spy Deal
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, President Donald Trump told Utah Senator Mike Lee that he does not back a surveillance bill which passed in the House.
Trump’s comments have raised speculations about the status of this bill.
A spokesman from Lee’s office confirmed the conversation and the president informed the Utah Republican that he is not in favor of the House legislation.
Lee and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul have been working diligently to stop the House bill. They even urged Trump to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. The Senators believe that it does not go far enough in its reforming of the court connected to the Freedom Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Lee attempted, but ultimately failed, to set the Senate to pass a 45-day extension of three provisions of the USA Freedom Act, which are about to expire soon. In addition, he failed to guarantee votes on amendments to the House legislation, which combines a reauthorization of the provisions with some changes in the FISA process.
Progressives and libertarian-leaning GOP senators have warned for some time that they do not believe the surveillance court has enough transparency or privacy protections for those being spied on.
Several other Republican lawmakers have joined them after the Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz discovered 17 notable inaccuracies and omissions in the warrant applications launched against Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
Trump repeatedly criticized FISA, arguing that Deep state actors were spying on his campaign.
He appeared to indicate on Thursday that he was receptive to the Senators’ argument when he tweeted on Thursday that a select few Republicans were urging him to veto the bill.
“Many Republican Senators want me to Veto the FISA Bill until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted ’coup’ of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!” he tweeted.
Lee took advantage of the president’s tweet while giving a lengthy floor speech where he criticized the House bill.
“He still has concerns with FISA and that many senators are pointing out the flaws in the reforms package passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives this week, that many have encouraged him to veto that legislation,” Lee stated. “If the president of the United States himself has reason to be concerned about FISA, what about the rest of Americans?”
According to The Hill, that the president is interested in overhauling FISA reforms but is “carefully listening” to all Republicans concerned about the matter.
“There is a lot of interest in the significant reform that conservatives drove to completion to address the abuses of FISA against him and other innocent members of the 2016 campaign,” the official stated.