But after the second tweet by the President - expressing support for the §702 FISA reauthorization - things calmed down, and the House moved to approve the plan.
Top Intelligence Committee Republicans and Democrats had been working with Trump administration officials on legislation renewing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments - which allows for warrantless surveillance of foreigners and is set to expire. The Senate must also now vote to renew the powers before the programs can be extended further.
The White House has urged lawmakers to vote no on the amendment.
He called FISA "controversial" and claimed without offering evidence that the program may have been used to "so badly surveil [sic] and abuse" his presidential campaign.
"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". But not until after a 101-minute long scramble to clean up the President's position ahead of the midday vote, which Republican leaders had been eying with optimism after spending weeks rounding up votes and batting down demands from the conservative and libertarian elements of their conference.
But the White House, in opposing those reforms, said the amendment would "re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that our country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11".
The tweet was posted shortly after Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said, "Mr. President, this is not the way to go".
Paul suggested during an appearance Thursday on NBC's "Morning Joe" that he may have helped influence the president's thinking in recent conversations.
Section 702 allows the NSA to eavesdrop on vast amounts of digital communications from foreigners living outside the United States through US companies such as Facebook Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google. "His woes began with unlawful foreign surveillance and unconstitutional domestic surveillance of him before he was the president of the United States and now he wants to institutionalize this". In a tweet Sen.
Two hours after his first tweet of the morning, the President issued a second FISA tweet walking back his criticism, saying the surveillance powers authorized by the bill are necessary.
"In short, the base bill would give greater privacy protections to criminal suspects than to people the F.B.I. has no solid basis for thinking had committed any wrongdoing", Amash argued.
Just a day prior, the White House offered its support for the reauthorization.
Over an hour and a half later after his first tweet on Thursday, the president sent a second tweet on the subject seeming to clarify that he supports FISA re-authorization, with potential privacy concerns addressed separately. (Just for the record: I don't know it.) There might be articles and commentary written on the assumption that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did or did not use the dossier material with the FISA court, but right now it appears the information has not leaked, and those articles and commentary are based on assumptions rather than hard information.
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