Trump muddies FISA reform so he can position himself as saviour at a later date

Republicans were right to sound the alarms back in 2018 that the FISA system was broken, but the president is holding up a bill with overwhelming bipartisan support that aims to fix those problems, writes US political correspondent Griffin Connolly

Monday 01 June 2020 19:59
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Donald Trump has railed against FISA abuse for years and is now holding up a bill that aims to fix the broken system. (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
Donald Trump has railed against FISA abuse for years and is now holding up a bill that aims to fix the broken system. (Photo courtesy Getty Images)

It’s a common theme throughout the first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency: Congressional leaders reach a fragile bipartisan agreement on a politically weighty piece of legislation, the president fires off a few tweets opposing it, and the compromise shatters into 535 pieces.

That’s all it took — one tweet — for Mr Trump to torpedo nearly three months of negotiating on a bill that would reauthorise three key national security surveillance provisions along with a host of measures intended to shore up the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that has faced intense scrutiny from Republicans over the last two years.

“If the FISA Bill is passed tonight on the House floor, I will quickly VETO it. Our Country has just suffered through the greatest political crime in its history. The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it!” the president tweeted, alluding to the convoluted “Obamagate” conspiracy theory that even he does not seem to have a total grasp on.

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