President Trump clarifies position on FISA after tweet expressing surveillance concerns

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma listen at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. The Trump adm

President Trump clarifies position on FISA after tweet expressing surveillance concerns

Later today, the House will vote on reauthorizing the controversial Section 702 of the law, which has come under fire for its potentially overbroad reach.

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".

The House is set to vote Thursday on renewing what's known as Section 702 of FISA, a law that allows the National Security Agency to collect texts and emails of foreigners overseas without an individualized warrant, even when they communicate with Americans in the U.S.

Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the bill could allow the surveillance law to "improperly target minorities, government critics, and marginalized communities".

Watch a clip of Napolitano below.

But the fate of the programme appeared to be in jeopardy on Thursday, after the president tweeted his doubts about it, questioning his administration's position after seeing a segment about it on Fox News.

Passage comes after a morning of confusing tweets by President Donald Trump. And a key privacy hawk in Congress contends the president is more in line with him than the White House lets on. Nunes had initially sought to include transparency requirements related to unmasking requests in the FISA Act renewal legislation but Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee objected, saying he couldn't support legislation that included such provisions.

Paul suggested during an appearance Thursday on NBC's "Morning Joe" that he may have helped influence the president's thinking in recent conversations.

The original deadline to renew the surveillance powers passed on December 31 without a debate on the floor of either house on potential reforms. Nunes' bill restricts the data collected under Section 702 that involves USA citizens and would temporarily stop federal agents from collecting emails or texts that mention a suspect but aren't directly to or from a target.

"This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land", he tweeted.

"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today, '" Trump wrote, citing a Fox News headline. Trump's tweet also referenced his claim, since refuted by the Department of Justice, that the Obama Administration wiretapped his phone during the 2016 campaign.

The current congressional discussion over FISA stems from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, which introduced Section 702.

"The administration has voiced support for reauthorization but I think the president indicated to me that he believes that any reauthorization should have significant reforms", Paul said. "And I will do everything I can to fight to make sure that it does not pass, unless we get our reforms attached to the bill". In a tweet, he linked the FISA program that his White House supports to the dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russian Federation, catching aides and Capitol Hill officials off guard.

UPDATE: Trump responded to pleas from House Republicans and members of his own national security team seeking clarification of this morning's tweet.

Trump told reporters Wednesday "we'll see what happens" when asked about speaking with Mueller, also adding, "It seems unlikely that you would even have an interview".

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