- House Speaker Paul Ryan said President Trump was “just trolling” when the White House said it would revoke security clearances for former officials who had been critical of the president.
- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday the administration was weighing taking clearances away from James Comey, Andrew McCabe, James Brennan, and more.
- It was later revealed that neither Comey nor McCabe still have their clearances.
WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan said that President Donald Trump is “just trolling people” in regard to the White House saying it would consider revoking security clearances for former officials who criticize the current administration.
On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was considering a move to take away clearances from individuals who they believe have “politicized” their access. When asked about Sen. Rand Paul wanting Trump to take away former CIA Director John Brennan’s clearance, Sanders said, “He’s also looking into the clearances of [James] Comey, [James] Clapper, [Michael] Hayden, [Susan] Rice, and [Andrew] McCabe.”
“The President is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they’ve politicized and, in some cases, monetized their public service and security clearances,” Sanders added.
The comments sparked backlash on Capitol Hill amid revelations that many of the people named by Sanders no longer have security clearances.
Because many of the former officials, including former FBI Director Comey and former FBI Deputy Director McCabe, revealed they no longer had their clearances anyway, Ryan called it a troll move by Trump.
“I think he’s trolling people honestly,” Ryan said in a press conference Tuesday morning. “This is something that’s in the purview of the executive branch. I think some of these people already lost their clearances. Some people keep their clearances. That’s how the executive branch deals with it. Not really in our purview.”
But Democrats in Congress are still taking it very seriously. Rep. Adam Schiff, who serves as ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters that Trump was making a “cowardly action of someone who is afraid of criticism.”