After a confusing morning of tweets by President Donald Trump, the House on Thursday passed a bill to reauthorize a key foreign intelligence collection program with an important tweak: It would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation to get a warrant if it wants to view the contents of Americans' communications swept up in the process.
"Not only does the bill say you have our blessing to collect communications that contain a target's email address, it also endorses collecting communications that merely contain a reference to the target", says Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice. Still, the Judiciary Committee's Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte, said that extending those powers which expire next week is crucial. That's what he's going to do.
"We have not seen any abuse of section 702 authority by intelligence agencies and law enforcement in the past, and I am confident that they will continue to perform with the highest professional standards in the future", the congressman said.
Sanders also insisted no agreement has been reached on legislation to protect Dreamers, despite an announcement by Arizona Sen.
What's more, as two GOP senators involved in immigration talks, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, disagreed over whether lawmakers and the president have struck a deal, Sanders was more clear.
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While almost all lawmakers agree that 702 is an essential tool for United States intelligence to safeguard national security, the bill passed the House by 256-164, showing the level of opposition to the powers it gives USA spies and law enforcement. Asked about the president's conflicting tweets, Mr. Ryan said Mr. Trump has always been in support of foreign surveillance. The new bill, voted on today, effectively seeks to write those interpretations into law.
Government funding expires on January 19.
In Thursday morning's meeting of House Republicans, lawmakers reacted with palpable consternation to Trump's initial tweet, according to attendees.
"We don't think there was a conflict at all", Sanders said. "He has a full understanding". "I'm not sure what the confusion is there".
Despite all that, Sanders would have the American public believe that Trump's tweets were only confusing to dumb journalists.
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"The president supports the 702". She said the president has "some concerns" with the FISA law generally, though not with Section 702. "I'm sorry if it was to you".
Hours later - reportedly after a phone call with House Majority Leader Paul Ryan - Trump retreated, saying "We need it!". Democrats tried to use the confusion as a way to postpone the vote but Republicans pressed ahead and conducted business as usual.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who happens to be the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, moved to postpone the vote, citing the "irresponsible and inherently contradictory messages coming out of the White House today".
Trump's tweet about the NSA program came on the same morning "Fox & Friends", Trump's favorite program and a frequent inspiration for his Twitter account, aired a segment in which Judge Andrew Napolitano, a commentator, offered scathing criticism of the surveillance program. She suggested reporters were the only ones left confused, prompting Trump to issue a second tweet almost two hours later.
"We just know that", Acosta explained.
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