Rand Paul said he asked President Trump to remove several security clearances

Thursday, 26 Jul, 2018

Members of Congress are pushing back against a floated White House idea of pulling the security clearances of top former intelligence officials in the Obama administration who have criticized President Donald Trump.

"And the fact is, starting with the president, we haven't been tough enough, we haven't been direct enough, we haven't been focused enough".

Sanders, who said Trump is "exploring the mechanisms" to remove the security clearances, made reference to Brennan's treason comment in explaining the president's threat.

Following last week's summit with Putin, Trump was widely criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for appearing too cozy with the Russian leader and failing to more aggressively confront him on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Many former USA officials retain security clearances after leaving government service because they continue to advise their former agencies or because it is a condition of employment as government contractors or consultants. The clearances are also sometimes required for them to work for government contractors.

President Donald Trump is considering stripping the security clearances for some members of previous administrations who continue to get top secret info.

But, as Ryan noted, some of the figures Sanders mentioned - like Comey and McCabe - don't even have security clearances anymore since their employments were terminated. While standing next to Putin, Trump had openly questioned his own intelligence agencies' conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the 2016 USA election to help Trump and seemed to accept Putin's insistence that Russia's hands were clean.

Democratic Rep Adam Schiff of California, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that "politicising security clearances to retaliate against former national security officials who criticise the President would set a awful new precedent".

Employers seeking to hire retiring government officials can request that their security clearances be transferred to their new job.

EX-CIA chief Brennan, for example, Tweeted on 16 July that President Trump's news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was "nothing short of treasonous".

Melissa Schwartz, a spokesman for McCabe, tweeted that his security clearance was deactivated when he was terminated in March, "according to what we were told was Federal Bureau of Investigation policy".

Sen. Corker said on MSNBC, "When you're going to start taking retribution against people who are your political enemies in this manner, that's the kind of thing that happens in Venezuela".

McCarty is a former assistant USA attorney for the Southern District of NY who is now a contributing editor for National Review and a Fox News contributor. "I want to see what the results are". There are also modern day legal precedents that support the President's right to grant or revoke clearances, such as the 1988 Supreme Court case Department of the Navy v. Egan.

Brennan, Comey, Clapper and Hayden, in particular, have been harsh critics of Trump since he took office.

The 6 include former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. "That's something we reserve for allies", Ryan said.