Today’s Campaign Update, Part II (Because the Campaign Never Ends)
As congress works to pass a renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, President Trump issued a tweet this morning that indicates he is seriously considering a veto:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2020
The tweet comes as the Senate takes up the House version of the reform bill, a version that contains changes to the law that most conservatives consider to be wholly inadequate. Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul made it clear on Wednesday afternoon that they would work to kill any effort by the Senate to pass the House version without amendments mandating further reforms.
From a Politico report on the matter:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said Wednesday that he’ll do all he can to block the House’s legislation to reform surveillance laws and is pushing President Donald Trump to veto it.
Lee’s move could sink efforts to renew provisions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which are expiring March 15. Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are pushing for several changes to the law not currently included in the House’s version.
Paul said Wednesday that he is pushing for an amendment stating that “FISA warrants can’t be used on Americans and no information gathered in the FISA court can be used to convict an American.”
Meanwhile, Lee said he is actively trying to get enough votes to block the House bill from advancing in the Senate.
“There are a lot of procedural tools at our disposal,” the Utah Republican said. “The rules and the clock are on our side here.”
The House bill comes a week after Senate and House Republicans met with President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr to discuss FISA reform. At the meeting, the president made clear that he would not support a clean extension of the expiring surveillance provisions and told lawmakers to come back to him once they reach a bipartisan deal. The president has criticized FISA after authorities used it to monitor an associate of his 2016 presidential campaign.
A senior administration official said Wednesday that “there are a lot of FISA improvements in the proposal that are wins for the president and conservatives who believe FISA was significantly abused and needed major reform.” Barr is also supportive of the proposal.
So, the President’s tweet indicates he is considering a veto despite the position taken by the Attorney General, which is no surprise. After all, the increasingly Swampy-looking Barr initially advocated the passage of a “clean” renewal with no amendments, an extraordinary position for him to take in light of the rampant abuse of the FISA law that took place during the Obama years and into the first year of the Trump Administration.
With the FISA law set to expire on March 15, expect a flurry of activity to take place around it in the coming hours and days.
That is all.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.