Paul Ryan says that Trump is just trolling people when threatening to remove their security clearances.— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) July 24, 2018
Endangering national security to freaking 'troll people'.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders recently announced President Donald Trump was “exploring” the possibility of taking away security clearances of six of Obama-era officials, who also happen to be the POTUS’ fiercest critics.
And House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks it’s all a laughing matter.
When asked if the president would actually go forward with the revocation, Ryan chuckled and said, “I think he’s trolling people, honesty.”
Ryan thinks it is funny the U.S. president is “trolling” people on a matter as serious as security clearances.
The House speaker then continued that the decision to revoke clearances is in the purview of the executive branch and some people targeted by Trump have already lost clearances.
When pressed by NBC reporter Kasie Hunt over the question whether going after political adversaries by taking away clearances would be considered a “banana republic” move. Ryan doubled down on his earlier remarks.
“I think he’s just trolling people,” he said.
The individuals whose security clearances might be revoked by the president include former CIA Director John Brennan; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; former FBI Director James Comey; former National Security Adviser Susan Rice; Retired Gen. Michael Hayden; and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered two reasons for why the administration was considering revoking these individuals’ clearances. According to Sanders, these six have “politicized and in some cases monetized their public service,” essentially using their clearances for monetary gain. She also cited the criticisms of the president they’ve made, with regard to the ongoing Russia drama he’s embroiled in, to justify the move.
All the names considered to have their security clearances taken away have been critical of Trump’s performance at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin— something Republicans have also berated the president for.
When asked if Ryan would be okay with Putin visiting Washington, the House speaker said he always welcomed leaders engaging in dialogue.
However, he made sure to say Putin would not be invited to a joint session.
“We will certainly not be giving him an invitation to do a joint session. That’s something we reserve for allies,” Ryan said.
Thumbnail. Banner Credits: REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein