By Eric Lieberman
President Donald Trump said Friday that he reauthorized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law that gives the government comprehensive surveillance powers, just as GOP lawmakers are discussing the alleged abuses the law has allowed.
Just signed 702 Bill to reauthorize foreign intelligence collection. This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election. I will always do the right thing for our country and put the safety of the American people first!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2018
I viewed the classified report from House Intel relating to the FBI, FISA abuses, the infamous Russian dossier, and so-called “Russian collusion.” What I saw is absolutely shocking.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 19, 2018
I have read the memo. The sickening reality has set in. I no longer hold out hope there is an innocent explanation for the information the public has seen. I have long said it is worse than Watergate. It was #neverTrump & #alwaysHillary. #releasethememo
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) January 19, 2018
.@RepMattGaetz on the FISA Corruption Memo: We can never live in a country where this type of thing happens…what I am worried about is that the cast of characters identified in this memo is not a group of people that are gone. #ReleaseTheMemo pic.twitter.com/0c23r1O6Ls
— Katica (@GOPPollAnalyst) January 19, 2018
Even one Republican legislator reportedly asked Trump to hold off on signing the bill, due to the new information that he and his colleagues have viewed.
Interesting move: Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex) asks @POTUS to delay signing the newly-reauthorized surveillance law known as Section 702 in light of HPSCI memo on “Fisa abuses,” and urges public release of the memo. Poe wanted stronger privacy measures in Section 702.
— Ellen Nakashima (@nakashimae) January 19, 2018
Trump’s signing comes just a day after the Senate voted 65 to 34 to reauthorize FISA, specifically Section 702, which allows federal intelligence agencies to collect data on foreigners suspected of crimes. But the extensive powers in the law and the inherent nature of surveillance often cause the electronic communications of law-abiding Americans to be collected and surveilled as well.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky vowed to filibuster FISA reauthorization when the senate was debating the issue, but opponents to that prospect successfully voted for cloture by the narrowest of margins.
The bill also passed the House 256-164 last week.
Trump originally showed the same reservations as Paul and others like Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. He, however, quickly changed his mind.
With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2018
Trump very well could be changing his mind again after he hears of all of the complaints from public officials of his same party.