Transcript for White House says Trump has ‘full understanding’ of FISA policy
And next this evening, the mixed messages from president trump today on a key security surveillance law. In an early morning tweet, the president suggested he opposed the law, saying it was used to abuse and surveil his campaign. Two hours later, an apparent reversal. So, what happened in between? ABC’s senior white house correspondent Cecilia Vega on that tonight. Reporter: A morning of confusion began with this comment on one of president trump’s favorite morning shows. A direct message to the president about that controversial surveillance program congress was set to reauthorize today. I don’t understand why Donald Trump is in favor of this. His woes began with unlawful foreign surveillance and unconstitutional domestic surveillance of him. Mr. President, this is not the way to go. Reporter: Minutes litter, the president took to Twitter using the exact language that appeared on “Fox and friends.” House votes on controversial FISA act today. He said, “This is the act that may have been used to so badly surveil and abuse the trump campaign by the previous administration and others?” The president’s tweets seemed to contradict his own policy. The white house supporting reauthorizing FISA, the program that allows the government to conduct warrantless surveillance on suspected terrorists oversapps and on U.S. Soil. Cue the chaos on capitol hill. A flurry of calls between the president and confused lawmakers. Speaker Paul Ryan spent half an hour on the phone with him. After those calls, the president appeared to backtrack. In a followup tweet, “Today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it. Get smart.” The bill is passed. Reporter: Ultimately, the house did vote to reauthorize the law. Did he not understand what bill you were voting on today? We just has concern about other parts of FISA. I think everybody knows that, too. Reporter: And the top Democrat on the senate intelligence committee went on the attack, saying the president endangered national security and that, quote, FISA is something the president should have known about long before he turned on fox this morning. Many people are interpreting that first tweet from the president to mean he didn’t actually know how FISA works and for that matter that he wasn’t familiar with his own administration’s policy. Does he know FISA? Was he familiar with the policy? He does, which is why he issued a presidential memo last week expressing concerns and he has a full understanding. Cecilia Vega with us from the white house. And Cecilia, another headline tonight, the president raising eyebrows now with some surprising new comments about North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un? Reporter: He had an interview with “The Wall Street journal” and said he probably had a good relationship with Kim Jong-un. He refused to say if he had spoken to un. David, it would be hard to imagine these two men being friendly, given that president trump has called Kim in the past depraved, twisted and a mad man. Cecilia Vega, thank you. Next, the trump adminiration rewriting the
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