- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2018

President Trump undercut his own administration’s push to renew government snooping Thursday when he said the Obama administration used those intelligence collection powers to monitor his own communications during the campaign.

The House is slated to vote to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the government to collect communications of foreign targets overseas — including when they’re talking to Americans.

The intelligence community is desperate to renew the powers, but Mr. Trump took to Twitter to question abuses.

“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?” the president said.

An hour later, Mr. Trump appeared to try to rescue the effort, again taking to Twitter to insist he’d made unilateral changes to fix things.

“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!” the president tweeted.

He didn’t say what those changes are.

In between the first and second tweets, he also commented on his own record on cutting immigration, pointing to news coverage he had apparently been watching on Fox News.

Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the president’s conflicting messages were troubling and said Congress needs to get to the bottom of what Mr. Trump was talking about.

He called for the 702 debate to be put off.

“We need more time to discuss this,” he said.

he House was slated to vote in the late morning.

Without approval, the Section 702 powers would expire next week.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the president’s anti-FISA tweet was careless.

“This is irresponsible, untrue, and frankly it endangers our na security,” Mr. Warner tweeted, responding to the president. “FISA is something the President should have known about long before he turned on Fox this morning.”

Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, said Mr. Trump’s initial tweet on FISA was “mistaken.”

“It wasn’t helpful at first,” he told MSNBC, emerging from a meeting of House Republicans. “Hopefully it’s been corrected. The president is supporting” the bill on the floor Thursday.

Dave Boyer contributed to this story.


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