Former Attorney General William Barr Rages Against Trump for FISA Stance

 April 11, 2024

This week, the House failed to pass legislation that would have enabled Section 702 powers to get extended.

These warrantless surveillance powers were largely called into question after the investigation into Donald Trump and his allies regarding FISA warrants.

Talking Points…
- Donald Trump goes against FISA legislation
- Bill Barr rages
- Analysis


As it stands today, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will expire on April 19. This legislation allows the government to spy on foreigners who are located overseas. This particular aspect of FISA has come under attack by Republicans ever since the Russian collusion investigation against Trump became public.

In the aftermath of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, it was clear that the FBI was abusing FISA warrants. In Trump’s case alone, the warrant was extended three times when the evidence did not dictate that FISA warrants should have been secured. This was largely due to then-Director Comey of the FBI using the Steele Dossier at the center of the FISA request, a piece of intelligence that had already been debunked.

Trump let it be known that he did now want Section 702 extended without significant reform, and his allies in the House made sure the legislation was struck down. Trump had stated:


Even though Donald Trump has supported Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Johnson not only put the bill on the floor but also encouraged Republicans to support it. On FISA, Johnson had stated:

“I look forward to talking with him about it.

“I mean, here’s the thing about FISA — he’s not wrong. Of course, they abused FISA. The whole Carter Page investigation — that whole fiasco was built on false premises, the fake Russian dossier and all the other things. But these reforms would actually kill the abuses that allow President Trump’s campaign to be spied on.”

Bill Barr Rages

Bill Barr has never held his tongue when it comes to Trump, and he surely was not going to start now. Barr wanted FISA extended, and he ripped Trump for pushing the issue and influencing the vote on the legislation. Barr stated:

"I think it’s crazy and reckless to not move forward with FISA. It's our principal tool protecting us from terrorist attacks. We're living through a time where those threats have never been higher, so it’s blinding us, it’s blinding our allies.

"I think President Trump's opposition seems to have stemmed from personal pique rather than any logic and reason. The provision that he objects to has nothing to do with the provision that’s on the floor.”


FISA was definitely abused in Trump's case, but there is clearly a need for it. The key here is to ensure that the powers are not abused as they were during the Trump-Russian collusion investigation.

The IG report showed the weaknesses of this particular power, so I would have no problem if Section 702 was extended as long as we had assurances that controls were in place to prevent the debacle that happened during the Trump investigation. I still firmly believe there is an element in the FBI that is more activist than agent, which is where I believe the true problems lie in regard to what happened to Trump during that investigation.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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