House Democrats gave up their attempt to renew the FISA surveillance law on Thursday after President Donald Trump told Republicans not to support it and announced that he would veto the legislation.
It was a blow to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who pushed for a twofold renewal of the controversial law.
President Trump, who was still discussing the use of FISA against his 2016 campaign and Russia’s investigation, celebrated the move.
“Thank you to our AMAZING Republican congressmen and congresswomen for your incredibly important blockade last night of a FISA bill that would simply continue the abuse that continued the greatest political crime in US history, the Russian witch-hunt. Fantastic Job !, ”he tweeted Thursday morning.
In one fell swoop for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats gave up their bid to renew the FISA oversight law
President Trump praised Republicans for opposing the extension of FISA
Pelosi beat Republicans for playing politics.
“Obviously, because House Republicans have political precedence over our national security, we will no longer have a two-way veto majority,” she said Thursday at her news conference on Capitol Hill. “We are no longer voting on the FISA bill today.”
“Suddenly, the dedication to national security disappeared through a tweet, a tweet from a tweet as they say,” she added.
Trump has expressed his right of veto on Wednesday evening.
“If the FISA bill is passed on the House floor tonight, I will FAT it soon. Our country has just suffered the greatest political crime in its history. The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it! He tweeted.
Pelosi said the House would attempt direct negotiations with the Senate.
“Our intention is to attend the conference to ensure that all views of all members of our Caucus are reflected in the final product,” she wrote in a letter to colleagues about the legislation.
She also took a hit at Trump, noting that “the administration – especially some from the Justice Department – wants nothing more than to have no account.”
The deadlock increases the potential of supervisory powers indefinitely. The provisions, which came to an end in March, allow the FISA court to approve business file warrants, allow supervision without establishing that a subject is acting on behalf of an extremist group, and allow continuous eavesdropping on a subject that has changed mobile phone provider.
Pelosi had expected to pass the legislation on Wednesday with an unusual alliance of moderate Democrats and Republicans, a group that approved the extension in March. The Senate amended the legislative version of the bill and then returned it to the House of Representatives for a new vote.
She pleaded with the legislators to support legislation to protect national security and to implement reforms to protect civil liberties included in the original compromise.
“If we don’t have an account, our civil liberties are less protected,” said Pelosi.
But Republicans fled after Trump announced his opposition, and liberals complained that the legislation did not provide enough protection.
Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has about 70 members of the Democratic House, said on Wednesday that they are against the bill, saying that the legislation is not doing enough to protect the privacy of Americans.
Facing her right and left flank, she rebelled and Pelosi set the benchmark.
The legislation was first passed in March with broad bipartisan support after Attorney General William Barr struck a deal with Republican and Democratic leaders. But that consensus broke on Wednesday after the Justice Department came up against the bill after it was amended by the Senate.
FISA was famously used by the FBI to obtain a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, an assistant to President Trump’s 2016 campaign
President Trump issued a veto on Wednesday evening that has contributed to the demise of FISA law
The Senate amendment was twofold, to allow for more third-party oversight to protect individuals in some oversight cases.
The Justice Department statement said that the amended version of the bill “would weaken national security instruments while doing nothing to address the abuses,” as the Justice Department inspector general noted in his report on the FBI investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.
Congress has gone through a difficult process of renewing oversight powers after a general inspector report documenting serious errors and mistakes in the way the FBI used its authorities during the investigation in Russia. Those issues include errors and omissions in requests the FBI has filed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to audit Trump’s campaign advisor.
Republicans have traditionally been hawkish in retaining security powers on behalf of national security. But Trump’s GOP allies have joined the president over the past year, demanding that any renewal of the FBI’s powers be accompanied by significant new restrictions.
The powers are not directly related to the errors found during the investigation in Russia. But Republican lawmakers – and some supporters of democratic civil liberties – have seized these problems in demanding reform.
FISA law was most commonly used in the 2016 campaign for the FBI to obtain a warrant for Trump campaign leader Carter Page.
President Trump is a harsh, vocal critic of the way the FBI deals with Page, who has never been charged with a crime. The FBI investigated whether he was acting as a Russian agent, a charge he has denied.
Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz found that the FBI had altered or withheld important information used to build its plea for Page’s surveillance warrant. The FBI attorney who changed the information is under criminal investigation.
But Horowitz did not conclude that the warrant should not have been issued.