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.
The No. 2 Republican, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, said Monday that he can understand Trump's aggravation at some former officials who "have obviously donned the uniform of the opposition team." But he says, "I don't know whether they've been abusing their security clearance at all. That's a very serious allegation."
The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, says revoking the clearances would be "ironic" considering the questions raised about granting them to Trump's family.
He says, "For them to start pointing fingers is ridiculous."
Rep. Adam Schiff,D-Calif., called any revocation a “cowardly action of someone who is afraid of criticism.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Trump was “politicizing American’snational security.”
CNN reporter Manu Raju tweeted: Rep. Scott Taylor, GOP congressman from Virginia, objects to WH threat to revoke security clearances of Trump critics.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was emphatically supportive of the idea.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president is "exploring the mechanisms" to strip clearance from former CIA director John Brennan, along with former FBI director Jim Comey, former national intelligence director James Clapper and others.
Sanders is accusing the officials of having "politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances" as well as "making baseless accusations" against the president.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted earlier Monday that he was planning to raise the issue of revoking Brennan's clearance at a meeting with Trump.
Brennan last week described Trump's press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as "nothing short of treasonous."
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