Trump pulled Brennan's clearance because he thinks it made him look 'strong,' wants to do it again
Donald Trump is always on the hunt for another way to hurt people who don’t clear the hurdle of only saying good things about Trump, all the time. Sometimes that’s firing them. Sometimes that’s making sure they don’t get a pension. Sometimes that’s hitting them with a racist insult. Or another racist insult. Or really … racist insults is the big thing.
But Trump has been mulling over the idea of suspending security clearances ever since news began circulating of just how many of his own White House staff had flunked the test to get those clearances in the first place. Since the spring, Trump has floated a list of names of former intelligence and law enforcement officials, some of whom did not actually have any continuing clearance in the first place, with the idea that he would remove that clearance as some kind of punishment. On Wednesday, he took the extraordinary step of claiming to remove clearance from former CIA director John Brennan and he broke every rule in the process.
Apparently, this feeling was so satisfying that Trump is just itchin’ to exercise his security-stealing finger again. And as the Washington Post reports, it’s all about the Russia investigation.
Over the past 19 months, Trump has fired or threatened to take action against nearly a dozen current and former officials associated with the inquiry, which he has labeled a “rigged witch hunt,” including former FBI director James B. Comey, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.
While firing Comey required Trump to having Rod Rosenstein draft an excuse letter and Trump sticking with that excuse for almost 48 hours before ‘fessing up to Lester Holt that it was all about the Russia investigation, with Brennan’s security clearance that process was accelerated. Trump merely had Sanders read a Stephen Miller-generated excuse, then immediately stepped on his own lie in an interview that same day. Apparently, Donald Trump has made the whole obstruction process much quicker. He’s the Henry Ford of the obstruction assembly line.
But the problem with Trump’s punish-’em-by-taking-away-their-clearance idea is it doesn’t actually punish anyone. It made a difference when Jared Kushner or Rob Porter couldn’t clear the lowest bar for security because they were working in the White House, and looking at classified documents came with the job. For those no longer actively in those roles, not having clearance makes no difference, because in day-to-day actions, they have no access to classified materials. The only one really hurt by Trump’s actions, is the nation.