Ryan Insists Trump Is Familiar With FISA, Despite Contradictory Tweets

on January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) came to President Trump’s defense on Thursday over the President’s comments about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Insisting that “everybody knows” that Trump has concerns with “other parts” of FISA than what the House voted to renew Thursday, Ryan defended Trump’s familiarity with FISA despite the President’s contradictory tweets.

“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,” he 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.”

On Thursday, the House renewed Section 702 of FISA, which will extend for six years the government’s ability to collect the communications of foreign targets located abroad from U.S. companies. The measure also allowed for surveillance of Americans’ communications with foreign targets. A bipartisan group of lawmakers attempted to derail the vote on Thursday by proposing an amendment that would prioritize the privacy of U.S. citizens. On Wednesday evening, the White House put out a statement expressing the administration’s opposition to the bipartisan effort.

On Thursday morning, Trump appeared to break with his administration, posting a tweet calling FISA “controversial” and questioning whether it was used to justify previous administration’s “abuse” of his campaign. He was likely referencing unfounded claims he made this past spring, accusing former President Barack Obama of “wire tapping” Trump Tower.

After his first tweet, Trump reportedly spoke with Ryan, NBC and The Washington Post reported. Trump later posted a second tweet, clarifying his support for the reauthorization that passed Thursday.

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