This morning's presidential shot/chaser was one for the record books:
- Trump tweet one (7:13 am): "'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.' This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?"
- Trump tweet two (9:14 am): "With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!"
After the fact: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said today there was "no conflict at all" between Trump's tweet and the White House's policy in favor of renewing FISA.
Why it mattered, per Axios' Jonathan Swan:
- Trump did a double backflip, on Twitter, over a policy issue of grave national security importance. Senior GOP aides described the first tweet as among his most irresponsible ever.
- The scramble to find out who fed him this idea settled on two suspects: Senator Rand Paul, who admitted to speaking to Trump, and Trump’s favorite morning TV show, Fox & Friends. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Steve Doocy and the gang have vastly more power over the president’s mind than some of his paid advisers.
- Many on Capitol Hill consider this a disturbing thought.
- White House Chief of Staff John Kelly likes to tell people that he wasn’t hired to control Trump’s Twitter feed and that he pays no attention to the tweets. That sounds nice; but it doesn’t work in practice.
- This morning shows how Trump’s Twitter feed can roil the legislative process. Yes, it all turned out ok — Trump reversed himself and the House passed the bill — but could easily have more serious consequences in the future.