Advertisement

Inspired by Fox News, Trump contradicts his own administration’s official position on FISA

Getting your news from Fox & Friends has consequences.

(CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While live-tweeting Fox & Friends on Thursday morning, President Trump expressed alarm that the House of Representatives may approve a bill reauthorizing the the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) — legislation that was used to surveil Trump campaign officials as part of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia.

Trump’s reference to “abuse” that “the previous administration” allegedly inflicted upon him appears to be a reference to the baseless accusation he made last spring about the Obama administration “wire tapping” his phones at Trump Tower. Even well-informed Republican members of Congress and congressional officials on both sides of the aisle ultimately acknowledged that there was nothing to Trump’s allegations, but Trump kept scandal-mongering throughout the year anyway.

As noted by Matthew Gertz of Media Matters, Trump’s Thursday morning tweet appeared to be inspired by a Fox & Friends segment featuring Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who urged Trump not to support FISA reauthorization.

But there’s just one problem — the Trump administration actually staunchly supports the FISA bill. In fact, on Wednesday evening, the White House Office of the Press Secretary released a statement that “urges the House to… preserve the useful role FISA’s Section 702 plays in protecting American lives.” As Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine notes, the Trump administration has also “sent its highest-ranking security officials to lobby Congress for reauthorization.”

Advertisement

Perhaps a White House staffer interrupted Trump’s “Executive Time” to inform him that his tweet was at odds with his administration’s official position — because just two hours after he posted his Fox & Friends-inspired tweet, the president posted another walking it back.

Despite Trump’s suggestion that his campaign aides were inappropriate unmasked by the FBI as part of their investigation into Russian election interference, there’s no evidence that any wrongdoing occurred.

A FISA warrant is only obtained after a judge affirms there’s probable cause to believe the target of surveillance was acting on behalf of a foreign power. According to reports, FISA warrants were granted to surveil both Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Advertisement

Trump’s tweets on Thursday are the latest evidence that he is getting his information not from the U.S. intelligence agencies he’s been feuding with since they made public their conclusion that Russia meddled in the election on his behalf shortly before his inauguration, but from Fox News — a network that promotes disinformation and that has recently been pushing the conspiracy theory that the “deep state” is trying to destroy the Trump administration.