GOP Senator: Trump Acting Like Dictator Over Security Clearances

Trump weighs pulling security clearance of former top intelligence officials who have been critical

Rand Paul met with Trump and tweeted that the president should revoke Brennan's security clearance because last week the former Central Intelligence Agency chief used the word "treason" to refer to the president's actions during the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"It's pretty obvious what the reason is: Why we were singled out for this contemplated action is because of criticism that we have expressed, and reservations that we have expressed about the President", Clapper told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday.

When Ryan was asked Tuesday about whether he was comfortable with Trump inviting Putin to the White House, Ryan said he's always been comfortable with presidents sitting down with foreign leaders.

Prior to Sanders' announcement, Trump had met with Sen. However, only four of those listed retained clearances, and some said they were irrelevant to their work.

Among them is John Brennan, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama and was one of the most vocal critics of Trump's performance at his summit last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Commissioner Kerik, who served as the provision Interior Minister of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, supports Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) proposal to revoke the Top-Secret clearances of several high-ranking former intelligence officials. In an unprecedented move, the president is considering revoking their security clearances, making them ineligible for access to the nation's closely held secrets.

"A list of former national security officials that his White House is targeting for the possible punishment of stripping these officials of their security clearances".

In announcing the review of security clearances, Sanders said that "making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russian Federation or being influenced by Russian Federation against the president is extremely inappropriate".

Last week, Brennan tweeted: "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous".

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A spokesperson for McCabe, meanwhile, said that his clearance had already been deactivated when he was sacked from his position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Legalities aside, it seems like a awful mistake to use the security clearance system as an instrument of political vendettas", said Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News.

As for whether Trump has the authority to do what Sanders suggested, Aftergood called it "a disputed question".

He said he was not aware of any past case in which a person had their clearance revoked by the president.

Rep. Eliot Engel of NY, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the idea "ridiculous". Comey, who Trump fired as Federal Bureau of Investigation director a year ago, has said he does not have one, his friend Benjamin Wittes said on Twitter.

Former U.S. intelligence officials are known to keep their security clearances so current officials can consult them.

"That's something we do for allies", he added.

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