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Essential Washington

Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington.

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Trump tweets angrily against bill his White House has been lobbying to pass

 (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump’s anger over the Russia investigation melded with his itchy Twitter finger on Thursday to undermine support for an intelligence program that the White House has been lobbying hard to preserve.

The House  is scheduled to vote Thursday on renewing the National Security Agency’s broad authority to collect communications from foreigners, without warrants, including those communicating with U.S. citizens. The outcome is in doubt.

The White House has been lobbying aggressively to maintain the authority, against a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers — conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats — who say the act compromises civil liberties.

Wednesday night, the White House released an official statement explicitly saying that a proposed amendment that would weaken the NSA's power would undermine “the useful role FISA’s Section 702 authority plays in protecting American lives.”

But Trump took the opposite position Thursday morning in a tweet, apparently inspired by news reports. He speculated angrily about a favorite theory of his — that the surveillance authority had been used to spy on his presidential campaign.

That prompted confusion and derision, including a tweet from a Democratic lawmaker who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

Trump later backtracked on his tweet, urging others to “Get smart!”

By then, however, Democrats, including Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), his party’s senior member  on the Intelligence Committee, had called for the House to postpone the vote.

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