House Democrats call on Republicans to pull FISA bill, cite Trump tweet

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The House of Representatives reauthorized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Thursday, absent a proposed amendment meant to protect civil liberties.

Two hours later, he walked that back.

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"It's well known that he has concerns about the domestic FISA law", said Ryan. "The American public deserves a full and transparent debate, and members of the Senate deserve to have the same opportunity as did members of the House to discuss and amend legislation reforming this vital surveillance tool". Among them was a requirement that officials get warrants in most cases before hunting for and reading emails and other messages of Americans swept up under the program.

Supporters of those changes contended that the overhaul was needed to preserve Fourth Amendment privacy rights in the internet era.

The House Rules Committee met Tuesday and permitted an amendment by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would require warrants for any agency seeking access to American's data picked up in 702 intelligence operations.

Background: The Leader filed cloture on the House-passed measure.

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed Thursday that President Donald Trump's morning tweets on the the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) were not confusing, despite their contradictory nature. It is unclear what the dossier has to do with unmasking or the reauthorization of the spying program, but Trump has been repeatedly denouncing it in recent days. The "no" votes included 45 Republicans.

The ACLU characterized House leadership as having "caved to irresponsible fearmongering from the intelligence agencies", calling out House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for acting "in direct opposition to the interests of their constituents to be free from warrantless government spying".

Schiff said on the floor that, "an issue of this magnitude deserves serious and sober consideration", and "I would urge my colleagues not to bring this to a vote today". But Republicans, battling a last-minute push from conservative lawmakers, gambled on moving forward with a vote.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week, before the program expires on January 19.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is a roughly 40-year-old federal law limiting how US spy agencies can monitor Americans' communications, first passed in the wake of 1970s Congressional investigations into privacy violations by the three-letter spy agencies.

But the fate of the programme appeared to be in jeopardy on Thursday, after the president tweeted his doubts about it, questioning his administration's position after seeing a segment about it on Fox News. The analyst, Andrew Napolitano, turned to television cameras and said, "Mr. President, this is not the way to go". He said the surveillance was used "to understand what people were planning overseas and what they were trying to do here in America, so that we could connect the dots and stop that particular terrorist attack", Ryan said.

"This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land", Trump said in his second morning tweet on the matter.

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