US President Donald Trump has pushed the White House to renew a critical national security programme that allows spy agencies to collect intelligence on foreign targets abroad after tweets on the subject dubbed “confusing” by politicians.

The House is expected to vote on a version that would put restrictions on how the FBI could use information on Americans that is inadvertently swept up by the programme.

“This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land,” Trump said in a tweet yesterday. “We need it! Get smart!”

Before that, however, he sent out a tweet suggesting the programme was used to collect information that might have been used to “badly surveil and abuse” his campaign.

Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Trump’s tweets were “inaccurate, conflicting and confusing statements”.

Schiff suggested a vote on the bill should be delayed until the White House’s position can be ascertained. The Republicans said the vote should be held.

The programme, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows US spy agencies to collect information on foreign targets outside the country.

Americans’ communications are inadvertently swept up in the process and privacy advocates and some lawyers want to require the FBI to get a warrant if it wants to view information on Americans that is in the database to build domestic crime cases.

The FBI and intelligence agencies say being able to query the database is essential to keeping the US safe.

Lawmakers in the House are weighing whether the FBI should have to get a warrant to either query information on Americans in the database or seek a warrant only if the FBI wants to view the actual contents of the material and use it for investigating and prosecuting domestic crimes.

On Wednesday, the White House issued a statement opposing changes to the programme.

Yesterday Trump tweeted: “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?”

Minutes later, however, he backed the programme.

The news comes as North Korea claimed Michael Wolff’s bombshell new book about Trump spells the end of the president’s political career. Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House paints Trump as a leader who does not understand the weight of his office and whose competence is questioned by aides.

The president and other White House aides have blasted it as inaccurate trash, but it was the top-selling book in the US last week and its numbers are likely to grow far higher.

Yesterday North Korea’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper, run by its ruling Workers’ Party, carried an article about the book’s subject matter, how Trump reacted and why it is selling so well.

Its sales reflect “rapidly surging anti-Trump sentiments in the international community”, the article said.

“The anti-Trump book is sweeping all over the world so Trump is being massively humiliated worldwide.”

The book’s popularity “foretells Trump’s political demise”, the article said.

Last summer, Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” in an exchange of taunts with the North, which claimed it was examining plans to launch missiles towards the American territory of Guam.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have since traded threats of war and crude insults.