House passes warrantless surveillance bill after GOP revolt – National & International News – FRI 12Apr2024


House passes warrantless surveillance bill after GOP revolt.

Trump media company shares continue to tank.

House passes warrantless surveillance bill after GOP revolt

The House has passed a bill reauthorizing warrantless surveillance of Americans through 2026. Specifically, they voted to reauthorize Section 702, an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) passed in 2008. Section 702 has been controversial both among civil libertarians on the left and big-government skeptics on the right ever since its initial passage. Both see it as a flagrant violation of the 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

An amendment to today’s reauthorization that would have required warrants to spy on Americans narrowly failed in a 212-212 vote. This was a measure that Speaker Mike Johnson had previously supported as a member of Congress in 2018. This time around, Johnson angered many in the Freedom Caucus and other far-right and MAGA Republicans by backing the reauthorization with no check on its spying powers. Former President Trump recently posted on Truth Social that he wanted to “kill” FISA. The expanded FISA powers were used as a license to spy on his 2016 campaign amid concerns of collusion with Russia.

Johnson ultimately found a compromise to appease the rebels in his caucus by reducing the authorization from the usual 5 years to two years. Speaking after the vote, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that reducing this authorization would give Trump a chance to alter the unpopular provisions if he wins back the White House in November.

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Trump media company shares continue to tank

Since its initial public offering on March 26, shares of Trump Media & Technology Group (DJT) have lost more than half their value. DJT’s sole property is Trump’s troubled social media platform Truth Social. On opening day, shares were going for $70.90 each before reaching a high of nearly $80 that same day. Today, they closed at $32.59 per share. The merger that lead to the IPO has been beset by legal troubles, and a filing with regulators shortly after shares went on sale showed the company had only taken in about $4 million in 2023 and had lost nearly $60 million.

Analysts believe that some of the stock’s volatility has to do with the type of investors who are purchasing them, many of them likely small-time retail investors who are supporters of Trump. Now that those initial investors have lost half the face value of the stock they purchased, other traders are now swooping in shorting the stock, essentially betting on it to fail.

Trump is believed to have about 78 million shares of DJT, which are currently worth about $2.4 billion even after the steep devaluation. However, unlike other investors, the stock essentially cost him nothing. Despite the decline in value, Trump is also still on track to receive an extra 36 million in shares, which at current value would be worth a little over $1 billion. Trump cannot sell any of his shares for 6 months from the date of the public offering on March 26. 

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