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Republicans and attorney general huddle privately on surveillance reform


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Attorney General William Barr met privately with Senate Republicans to convince them to extend soon-to-expire surveillance laws and allow him to implement separate reforms “fairly quickly” aimed at curbing the kind federal surveillance abuse that targeted President Trump’s 2016 campaign. 


“The attorney general just wanted to underscore the importance of these provisions that were enacted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday after the meeting. “They are still relevant to our efforts to go after terrorists today, just like they were after 9/11.” 

There is bipartisan disagreement over whether to extend the provisions and what reforms, if any, to make legislatively. 

The surveillance laws are considered an important anti-terrorism tool but have been criticized by civil liberties groups and a bipartisan group of lawmakers who say the surveillance must be reined in. 

President Trump has been critical of the surveillance laws, asserting they were abused to permit spying on his presidential campaign and transition team. 

Barr told senators he plans to enact rules changes that don’t require congressional approval quickly.:snip:

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