Republican House speaker said “I think he’s just trolling people, honestly”.
UNITED STATES.- Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is dismissing President Donald Trump’s threat to revoke the security clearances of six former top national security and intelligence officials who have been critical of his administration.
“I think he’s just trolling people, honestly,” Ryan told reporters at a news conference Tuesday, addressing what opponents and experts say would be an unprecedented politicization of the clearance process.
“This is something that’s in the purview of the executive branch,” Ryan added with a laugh.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president was“exploring the mechanisms”to strip clearance from former CIA Director John Brennan as well as five other former officials who have held some of the most sensitive positions in government: former FBI Director Jim Comey; James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former national security adviser Susan Rice; and Andrew McCabe, who served as Trump’s deputy FBI director until he was fired in March.
The leaders have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, including Trump’s. But at least two of the former officials, McCabe and Comey, do not currently have security clearances, making the threat moot.
Sanders accused the officials of having “politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances” by making “baseless accusations” that the Trump administration had improper contact with Russia or was influenced by Russia.
“The fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence,” she said.