Trump-Aligned Republicans Silent After Voting To Extend Warrantless FISA Powers

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After former President Donald Trump called for Congress to “kill” an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), some of his closest allies in Congress still voted for a reauthorization without an explanation for why.

The House of Representatives moved to renew a 2-year reauthorization of FISA, without a warrant requirement, in a 273-147 vote on April 12. Though Trump and his supporters have previously blamed Section 702 of FISA for spying on his 2016 presidential campaign and helping spark the Russiagate scandal, Speaker Mike Johnson and 125 other Republican members voted yes.

Among those, West Virginia Rep. Carol Miller, Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer, North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik and Florida Rep. Mike Waltz did not respond to the Caller’s multiple email requests for an explanation on their vote.

Days earlier, Reschenthaler, Fleischmann and Waltz co-sponsored a bill to rename Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. after Trump. Murphy and Palmer are members of the House Freedom Caucus. (RELATED: ‘About To Combust’: Republicans Have Golden Opportunity To End Spying On Americans — But It’s Tearing Them Apart)

Several Republicans who have been supportive of Trump did provide an explanation for their support of the legislation, despite Trump’s opposition.

“President Trump is absolutely right – we must stop FISA from targeting Americans the way it was used against President Trump,” Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern told the Caller in a statement.

“I supported an amendment to the bill requiring a warrant to protect Americans from potential spying by their own government. Even though the amendment ultimately failed, the legislation still included important reforms to FISA. The worst situation would have been a clean reauthorization of FISA with no reforms – which is exactly what would have happened if this bill didn’t pass,” Hern continued.

Privacy rights groups have argued that the reforms included in the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA), the bill the House passed, “codify the unacceptable status quo of Section 702.”

Hern’s office noted to the Caller that he is supportive of the motion to table the extension, which was brought forth by Republican Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna.

Georgia Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter put out a press release, which his office referred the Caller to, explaining his decision to vote for the reauthorization of the bill.

“Section 702 of FISA is a critical national security tool that protects the United States against acts of terror. By reauthorizing this program for two years, instead of the five-year extension that was previously considered, we are protecting American citizens while working towards reasonable reforms that ensure this tool is used correctly,” Carter wrote in his press release.

“Section 702 does not permit the FBI to surveil American citizens. Warrantless surveillance of Americans is wrong, it is unconstitutional, and it will not be tolerated. There are safeguards in place to prevent such abuses, but Congress and the next administration will use this two-year reauthorization to expand and improve upon those important protections for American citizens,” he continued.

Carter’s statement notes that the legislation passed last week made several reforms to FISA,

Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s office pointed the Caller to remarks he made on Fox News ahead of his vote in support of the legislation.

“I think it is a very important tool that we need to keep our country safe,” Wenstrup began. “Look, we all want to prevent harm to any U.S. citizen, we want to catch bad guys and we want to keep good people safe. That’s the bottom line. I think maybe what the president should’ve referred to is ‘we want to kill the FISA abuses that took place.”

“You know as I sit on the Intelligence committee and we underwent the Russia investigation on Russian collusion, we realized that Donald Trump didn’t do anything wrong, it was actually Democrats actually orchestrated it and the FBI participated in abusing the FISA court and lying the Inspector General and the Inspector General confirmed that,” Wenstrup continued.

Prior to the vote, Congressional Republicans battled over how FISA should be handled. With the legislation set to expire on April 19, two solutions were being considered: one bill primarily advocated by the Intelligence Committee’s while the other included additional reforms by the Judiciary committee, the Caller previously reported.

“It’s delicate right now. The place is about to combust,” a GOP source on Capitol Hill previously told the Daily Caller.

Republicans tried to pass a warrant amendment brought forward by Republican Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, but it failed 212-212, with Speaker Mike Johnson casting the deciding vote.

Several Republicans voiced their frustration after the passing of the two year reauthorization, including Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who claimed that the bill would allow the “deep state to violate Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

“Today is a dark day for America,” Texas Republican Rep. Troy Nehls said in a statement. “It is no secret that the DOJ and the FBI have used and abused FISA to spy on not only the greatest president of my lifetime, Donald J. Trump, but spy on everyday Americans. I could not, in good conscience, vote to give our nation’s weaponized DOJ the power to mass surveil the American people without significant reforms, such as a warrant requirement.”

The White House, however, applauded Congress for being able to renew — though amend — the FISA legislation.

“We applaud the House’s bipartisan passage of legislation to reauthorize one of our nation’s most critical intelligence authorities, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“The Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act ensures that the Intelligence Community has the tools that it needs to identify and disrupt threats to the American people from hostile nation states, terrorist organizations, hackers, spies, and more. It also includes some of the most significant reforms in the history of FISA to strengthen oversight of how the authority is used and to protect privacy. We encourage the Senate to swiftly pass this bill before the authority expires on April 19.”