House Pulls FISA Bill After Trump Threatens to Veto Legislation

May 28, 2020 Updated: May 28, 2020

House Democrats announced they will not vote on a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provisions and enact more reforms to protect civil liberties after President Donald Trump issued a veto threat.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) officially removed the vote on the bill on Thursday after Republicans signaled they would no longer back the measure.

“At the request of the Speaker of the House, I am withdrawing consideration of the FISA Act,” Hoyer said in a written statement, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “The two-thirds of the Republican party that voted for this bill in March have indicated they are going to vote against it now. I am told they are doing so at the request of the President. I believe this to be against the security interest of the United States and the safety of the American people.”

In a letter to other Democrats, Pelosi said Democrats want to negotiate with the Senate to come to an agreement on the bill. The Senate passed a bill 80-16 to reauthorize some provisions and revise how the FBI and Department of Justice use FISA courts to fight terrorism.

“The President tweeted that he would veto the bill, and House Republicans abandoned their support for our national security,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday.

Trump on Tuesday called on Republicans to “vote NO” until officials are “able to determine how and why the greatest political, criminal, and subversive scandal in USA history took place.”

FISA warrants were approved by the court to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in 2016, and officials have called for reforming the process after the Department of Justice’s inspector general last year found 17 significant errors and omissions during the process. Another report found that the FBI’s violations of FISA rules went beyond the scope of its investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation revealed Trump did not collude with Russia during the last election.

On Wednesday, Trump wrote on Twitter again that he would veto the FISA bill.

“If the FISA Bill is passed tonight on the House floor, I will quickly VETO it,” Trump wrote ahead of a scheduled vote. “Our Country has just suffered through the greatest political crime in its history. The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it!”

The president’s latest objections to the piece of legislation stem from his belief that the intelligence community, namely officials who served under the Obama administration, overstepped its authority and spied on his campaign for political reasons.

Trump on Thursday thanked Republicans in Congress for blocking the FISA legislation, saying that “would just perpetuate the abuse” that produced “the Russian Witch-Hunt.”