Amazing what can happen when a leader is a victim of a law that was abused to get around the Bill of Rights. President Donald Trump, a man who was spied upon by the government for no reason, has told Congressional Republicans he will not sign a continuance of a 2015 law if it contains a provision that the FISA court can be used to obtain warrants inside the country.
President Trump told a group of Republicans on Tuesday that he will not support extending soon-to-expire intelligence programs without changes to the surveillance court.
Trump met with Attorney General William Barr and several GOP lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), amid a deadlock over how to deal with expiring provisions of the USA Freedom Act.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told reporters that Trump “pushed back very vigorously” on a plan pitched by Barr to pass a clean extension of the expiring intelligence programs plan while using his own rulemaking authority to make changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court.
“It was a spirited discussion. The president made it exceedingly clear that he will not accept a clean reauthorization…without real reform,” Paul told reporters after the meeting.
Why these programs and the FISA court itself are needed as the War on Terror is wound down and the terrorists are being taken out by other means has not been made clear, but it is very obvious that the president wants American rights preserved at all costs.
Two GOP aides confirmed that Trump told lawmakers he would not support extending the USA Freedom Act provisions without broader FISA reforms.
The matter now returns to Congress where the House of Representatives is in opposition hands which are certain to want to retain a status quo. The USA Freedom Act expires on March 15.