- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2020

Attorney General William P. Barr will attend a closed-door lunch with Republican senators next week, according to a source familiar with the planning.

The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, will be Mr. Barr’s first face-to-face meeting with Republican senators since the Justice Department touched off a political firestorm with the sentencing of political operative Roger Stone.

The source said Mr. Barr had accepted the invitation before last week’s chaos surrounding the Stone sentencing. He is expected to discuss the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provisions scheduled to sunset in mid-March, the source said.

“Reauthorization of these certain programs is a priority for both Leader [Mitch] McConnell and AG Barr,” the source said.

Senators will soon open a debate on reauthorizing three FISA measures set to expire in March. If the provisions lapse, it would threaten the FBI’s ability to investigate terrorism and espionage cases.

Republicans have quietly questioned whether the secretive FISA Court should continue to exist after a damning report by the Justice Department inspector general found serious errors and omissions by FBI agents when they filed to obtain surveillance warrants for Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

If the three FISA measures expire on March 15, it could seriously hamstring the court’s authority.

The provisions are a business records measure that authorizes the FBI to search books records and paper documents; a roving wiretap provision allowing the FBI to wiretap phone numbers not listed in a warrant; and a lone wolf provision that allows the court to issue a warrant without tying a lone wolf to a terrorist organization.

Mr. Barr could also face questions about the Stone chaos. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington had recommended a seven- to nine-year sentence for Stone, who was convicted in November of impeding Congress’ Russia investigation.

Mr. Barr and top Justice Department officials stepped in to recommend a softer sentence, sparking protests from the case’s prosecutors and Democrats.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Stone to three years and four months in prison.

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