White House

Rand Paul Says Trump Wants FISA Reform ‘NOW’

Sen. Rand Paul (Chris Keane/Reuters)

Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) tweeted Thursday that President Trump told him Wednesday that he wants Congress to pass FISA reform before it reauthorizes portions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act set to expire in March.

“I’m pleased he is urging FISA reform NOW – and not a reauthorization of the current Patriot Act,” Paul tweeted, adding that he was working with Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) and others “to make these needed reforms happen now!”

Jordan tweeted Wednesday that “we can’t simply reauthorize the system” after the Horowitz report, which detailed how the FBI had made 17 errors related to its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign, which relied significantly on FISA warrants. Trump then retweeted Jordan, saying “They spied on my campaign!”

Republicans have given mixed responses to FISA reform, after attorney general William Barr told GOP senators during a Tuesday lunch that he wanted a clean reauthorization of FISA, with DOJ planning to reform the process internally.

Internally, the Trump administration also remains divided, with reports earlier this week suggesting that factions within the White House wanted reforms, but were opposed by others.

The House Judiciary Committee postponed a Wednesday markup session to its FISA reform bill, after Representative Zoe Lofgren (D., Calif.) proposed last-minute amendments to strengthen reforms.

Congressional aides told National Review Wednesday that “a long list” of Republicans support “significant reforms” to FISA before reauthorization, and that Barr’s hopes for a clean renewal align more closely with Democratic leadership, who appear resistant to significant reforms.

“Lofgren has been perfectly transparent about wanting amendments, amendments that have strong bipartisan support,” one Senate aide said.

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