SPONSORED:

Trump urges GOP to vote against bill reauthorizing surveillance powers

President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE on Tuesday evening urged House Republicans to vote against a surveillance bill that will be brought to the floor this week after lawmakers reached an agreement to vote on a key provision.

“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 tweeted, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump's tweet comes after months of speculation about whether he would support the bill and less than a day before it is scheduled to get a vote on the House floor Wednesday, throwing an eleventh-hour curveball into its path.

The Senate approved legislation in a bipartisan vote earlier this month reauthorizing three expired surveillance programs under the USA Freedom Act, a 2015 intelligence reform law.

The initial version of the bill, which passed the House in a 278-136 vote in March, included some changes to the FISA court as part of a deal backed by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrFederal judge rules Barr, other officials have qualified immunity from suit over Lafayette Square protests Lieu calls Catholic bishops 'hypocrites' for move to deny Biden communion The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE and supported by some of Trump's biggest allies, including Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal White House slaps down Jim Jordan attack on gas prices GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (R-Ohio) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure This week: Senate set for voting rights fight MORE (R-S.C.).

ADVERTISEMENT

But the Senate included new legal protections for some FISA warrant applications in a win for civil liberties-minded lawmakers, and the amended bill passed 80-16, forcing it to go back to the House for a second vote. The Justice Department opposed the changes, saying that they would "unacceptably degrade" the U.S. government's ability to carry out surveillance.

Trump’s tweet Tuesday came hours after House leaders agreed to consider an amendment that would tighten the limits on the FBI’s ability to access Americans’ web browsing history. A similar provision was defeated by one vote in the Senate, where senators who would have supported it were absent, putting pressure on House leadership to revive it.

But in another potential setback for the bill, Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population Wyden warns: 'Today's fires are not your grandfather's wildfires' Hillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal MORE (D-Ore.), who helped spearhead the Senate amendment, said Tuesday night that he could not support the House version from Reps. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenPelosi floats Democrat-led investigation of Jan. 6 as commission alternative Democrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe This week: House to vote on Jan. 6 Capitol attack commission MORE (D-Calif.) and Warren DavidsonWarren Earl Davidson21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE (R-Ohio). Wyden pointed to a statement by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocratic lawmakers not initially targeted in Trump DOJ leak probe: report Sunday shows - Voting rights, infrastructure in the spotlight Schiff calls Iranian presidential election 'predetermined' MORE (D-Calif.), who appeared to interpret the House amendment as only preventing warrantless collection under the program when the order specifically targets an American.

"It is now clear that there is no agreement with the House Intelligence Committee to enact true protections for Americans rights against dragnet collection of online activity, which is why I must oppose this amendment, along with the underlying bill, and urge the House to vote on the original Wyden-Daines amendment," Wyden said in a statement. 

Trump has long alleged that FISA was abused by the FBI to improperly surveil members of his 2016 campaign and undermine his White House bid. The president suggested in March that he was considering vetoing legislation under consideration by the Senate renewing the surveillance powers; that was a different version than the bill that ultimately passed by the upper chamber earlier in May.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci says he puts 'very little weight in the craziness of condemning me' Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why MORE (R-Ky.), who voted against the legislation in the Senate, has been urging Trump to oppose the bill, but he, like many of his GOP colleagues, acknowledged earlier this month that he didn't know where Trump would come down.

“Whether or not he’ll actually get involved ... that’s the real question on this, and I don’t know how it will come down,” Paul said ahead of the Senate's vote

A Justice Department inspector general investigation completed last year faulted the FBI for errors and omissions in surveillance applications used to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as part of the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference.

The internal watchdog review did not find evidence that agents were motivated by bias in their decisions to open investigations into Trump campaign associates, however, undermining a key talking point of Trump and his GOP allies.

Graham is doing a deep dive into the FBI investigation, including the FISA court and the Page warrant applications. He's hoping to release a report on his findings by October, before the election, and to potentially offer additional FISA-related legislation. 
 
“We’re going to investigate the investigators and try to find out how Hurricane Crossfire got off the rails,” Graham said earlier this month.  

Tal Axelrod contributed.

Updated: 9:25 p.m.