After President Donald Trump on Thursday morning published a tweet mixing up domestic surveillance and foreign surveillance, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had to explain the difference to Trump over the phone for 30 minutes, the Washington Post reported Thursday evening.
Trump’s first tweet about surveillance on Thursday mentioned a House vote on a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allows the FISA court to demand communications made by foreign persons not on U.S. soil from U.S. companies like Google and AT&T. However, in the tweet, Trump griped about surveillance of Americans, called the FISA Act “controversial,” and referenced his baseless claim that the Obama administration spied on him during the 2016 campaign.
“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?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2018
About an hour later, he followed up with a tweet noting that the House was voting on “foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign lands” and endorsed that section of the law. However, his initial tweet raised questions about his grasp of the law, forcing Ryan to publicly defend Trump’s knowledge of the FISA Act.
“It is well-known that he has concerns about the domestic FISA law. That’s not what we’re doing today. Today was 702, a different part,” Ryan said during a press conference Thursday. “Today has to do with foreign terrorists on foreign soil. He knows that and he put out something that I think clarified that. His administration’s position has been clear from day one, which is 702 is really important, it’s gotta be renewed.”