Trump threatens to veto FISA bill, says House version lacks controls to stop 'massive abuse'

'Our Country has just suffered through the greatest political crime in its history,' Trump tweeted Wednesday. 'The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it!'

Last Updated:
May 28, 2020 - 11:19am

President Trump on Wednesday threatened to veto a pending Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) bill, saying it lacks controls to stop the kind of '"massive abuse" that enabled "the greatest political crime" in American history.

The pending congressional bill seeks to reauthorize FISA provisions which expired on March 15.

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The Justice Department on Wednesday issued a statement saying that it opposed proposed changes to the House version of the FISA bill and recommended that Trump veto the bill if it reached the president's desk.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote that the Senate version of the bill had made "specific fixes to the most significant problems," but those changes had been ignored by the House.

"Given the cumulative negative effect of these legislative changes on the Department’s ability to identify and track terrorists and spies, the Department must oppose the legislation now under consideration in the House. If passed, the Attorney General would recommend that the President veto the legislation," Boyd wrote.

In March, Trump told congressional Republican leaders that he will not support a clean reauthorization of FISA laws without significant reforms to prevent the type of abuses seen during the Russia collusion probe.

In a Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen last month, nearly two-thirds of American said the FBI likely violates the law when spying on Americans.

The FBI came under heightened fire after Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, warned FBI Director Christopher Wray in March that the bureau is failing to follow its own rules to protect American civil liberties when pursuing surveillance warrants in sensitive intelligence and terrorism cases. The warning confirmed that problems first exposed in the Russia collusion probe extend to many other cases.

"It would be a mistake to conclude that all this is the result of the investigation into President Trump's campaign," veteran pollster Rasmussen cautioned when the poll findings were issued. "Distrust in government and government agencies runs deep in America. It's been nearly half a century since a majority of voters trusted the federal government to do the right thing even most of the time. So, the latest disclosures highlighting abuse of the FISA process might be seen as confirming what voters have long suspected." 

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