Ryan called Trump to explain surveillance issue after critical tweet: report
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) called President Trump on Thursday to explain the difference between foreign and domestic surveillance after Trump appeared to tweet his opposition to a bill championed by his own White House.
The Washington Post reports that Ryan phoned Trump after the president tweeted that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) had been used “so badly” to spy on the Trump campaign by the Obama administration “and others.”
“House votes on controversial FISA ACT today. This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” Trump tweeted Thursday.
That tweet set off a flurry of activity on Capitol Hill, which was preparing to vote on both the full act and a controversial amendment that would have limited the government’s privacy powers. Ryan himself spent a half hour on the phone with the president, following which Trump tweeted a second, clarifying message that signaled his support for the FISA Act.
“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!” Trump tweeted 90 minutes later.
“The president’s ping-pong on attitudes toward the FISA renewal suggests to me that he doesn’t fully understand the issue, which is complicated even for experts to understand,” former CIA chief John McLaughlin told The Post.
“For the intelligence community, it is yet another signal that the president is not fully attuned to how they operate and how carefully they stay within the law.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted Thursday that there was no discrepancy between the president’s tweets, and explained that Trump was supportive of the bill all along.
“We don’t think there was a conflict at all,” Sanders said. “The president fully supports [FISA] and was happy to see that it passed the House today … We don’t see any contradiction or confusion in that.”
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