By Dustin Volz and Andrew Restuccia
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called on House Republicans to reject pending legislation that would renew a set of domestic surveillance powers that lapsed two months ago, a move that could doom the bill less than 24 hours before lawmakers were set to begin consideration of it.
“I hope all Republican House Members vote NO on FISA until such time as our Country is able to determine how and why the greatest political, criminal, and subversive scandal in USA history took place!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The president has said the intelligence community improperly used the law to surveil his presidential campaign for political reasons, an assertion disputed by former Obama administration officials.
Trump’s tweet follows months of uncertainty about whether or not he would support the legislation concerning aspects of FISA that both chambers of Congress have been debating since the start of the year. The Senate earlier this month voted 80-16 with large bipartisan support to renew the expired provisions with a host of changes intended to bolster privacy and transparency protections.
The House is expected to vote as soon as Wednesday on the Senate-approved measure, but also had agreed to consider an amendment that would curtail when the Federal Bureau of Investigation can collect internet search records and browsing history from Americans when working on a national security investigation. A similar measure came one vote short of passing in the Senate but was expected to clear the House, along with the overall FISA bill.
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