While President Donald Trump has received substantial criticism for stripping former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, some Republicans are defending the move.
The president released a statement earlier this week explaining why he felt it was appropriate to revoke Brennan’s clearance.
“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries which is to sow division and chaos,” he wrote.
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., had a similar, if more succinct, take on the former intelligence official’s behavior.
“I think I called him a butthead,” he said to WFMZ. “And I meant it.”
He elaborated a bit, telling Capitol Hill reporters that he believes Brennan deserved to have his security clearance revoked.
“I think most Americans look at our national intelligence experts as being above politics,” Kennedy said. “Mr. Brennan has demonstrated that is not the case. He’s been totally political.”
Opining that Brennan has “given the national intelligence community a bad name,” the senator said that he doesn’t “see why he would need a security clearance.”
In the president’s initial statement, he claimed that “Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded allegations — wild outbursts on the internet and television — about this administration.”
With some political cover from within his own party, many Democrats have described the move as a Nixonian attempt to silence his enemies, according to The Washington Post.
Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders have indicated additional revocations could be coming soon and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., tweeted that he will attempt to legislatively block such behavior in the future.
“I will be introducing an amendment next week to block the President from punishing and intimidating his critics by arbitrarily revoking security clearances,” he wrote. “Stay tuned.”
I will be introducing an amendment next week to block the President from punishing and intimidating his critics by arbitrarily revoking security clearances. Stay tuned.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) August 17, 2018
Trump was still tweeting his disapproval of Brennan as of Saturday morning.
Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA Director? He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
“Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA Director?” the president wrote. “He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!”
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