White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended the administration’s ongoing tracking of domestic phone calls in a conversation with reporters Thursday.

The surveillance is allowed by a “robust legal regime” that reviews the use of the government powers under the Patriot Act “to ensure that they comply with the Constitution,” Earnest claimed, according to a White House pool report.

“Authorities that are referenced by this reported order are something that have been in place for a number of years now,” Earnest continued.

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