“They spied on my campaign!” Trump wrote over Jordan’s tweet.
Trump’s tweet was followed later by a similar social media post from Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who’s long fought his party as an advocate for civil liberties.
“Good talk with @realdonaldTrump yesterday and I’m pleased he is urging FISA reform NOW – and not a reauthorization of the current Patriot Act,” Paul tweeted Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr told Senate Republicans that he supported legislation that would simply extend the authorization of the expiring provisions, according to several senators. Meanwhile he would take steps internally to fix specific issues in the surveillance procedures and would support a broader reform effort down the line, they said.
Barr had briefed the White House on his plan before delivering it to the Senate this week, a senior Justice Department official said, but with his tweet, Trump appeared to brushback the attorney general in favor of the House Republicans’ proposal, which would provide a more immediate rebuke of the FBI for their behavior in the Russia investigation.
Jordan and conservative lawmakers met earlier Wednesday with Jared Kushner and White House counsel Pat Cipollone on the FISA fight, two sources familiar with the situation told CNN.
Later Thursday, Paul accused Barr of mischaracterizing the President’s position in the reauthorization fight when he briefed the GOP conference.
Paul said he had spoken with Trump by phone on Wednesday afternoon, and added that the President supports an amendment that would limit how the national security wiretap can be used on Americans. The change would represent a significant disruption to the way federal law enforcement agencies use the spying powers.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and another confidante of the President’s, told reporters Thursday that he planned to talk to the President over the weekend about supporting a short-term extension of the current powers that would enable a more fulsome debate over a lengthened timeline.
The South Carolina Republican said he will also meet with Paul next week about the Kentucky Republican’s requests, but Graham cast doubt on any agreement on reforms ahead of the March 15 deadline.
Graham said he would be open to a 30- or 60-day clean extension or “whatever the market would bear around here.”
“I do not think coronavirus should be added to anything. It should be standing on its own and it should move just like that and it should move fast,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said at his weekly news conference.
“You put FISA on there, neither one of them is going to go anywhere,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee and a member of the Judiciary Committee.
This story has been updated to include additional developments.
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