Call your members of Congress (MoCs) and push back against the very notion of revoking security clearances from about a half-dozen people who have criticized Trump.
Jesus Fucking Christ, this administration. We are truly in the time of constant swearing.
So! On Monday July 23, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump was “looking to take away” the security clearances of six individuals who have had harsh words for Trump:
Susan Rice, former national security adviser
Michael V. Hayden, former CIA director
James R. Clapper, Jr., former director of national intelligence
John O. Brennan, another former CIA director
James Comey, a former FBI director, who Trump fired
Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, who Trump fired, and was desperate to make sure got fired before he could claim full retirement benefits
The press secretary accused them of making money off their past employment and of making “baseless accusations” against Trump.
Never mind that two of the six, Comey and McCabe, don’t appear to hold security clearances any longer.
Clapper, for his part, told the Washington Post that he’s not currently doing any work that requires a clearance. An aide to Brennan said something similar.
Do we need to tell you this is the sort of shit that dictators do?
Do we need to tell you this is a threat to free speech?
Ugh. Just, ugh.
Here’s a Washington Post piece on Trump’s latest Constitution-threatening move:
Here’s another Washington Post piece on the question of whether a president can just up and yank a security clearance. Apparently, the answer is yes, but c’mon, that won’t stop a critic from being critical because we have a wonderful little thing called The First Amendment.
You’ve heard all the arguments about whether Trump does this or that as a distraction from some other horrible thing he’s done, or wants to do. Babies are still in cages. Migrant parents are still being deported without their kids. (Watch for a standing reminder post on that later this week.) The GOP is still wrecking the judiciary (same, assuming Trump doesn’t do something else stupid that forces us to scramble our lineup AGAIN).
Hell, Trump shot back a crazy all-caps tweet at Iran’s leader just hours before this security clearance bullshit, and in the interest of really trying to stick to the ethos of One Thing You Can Do, we’re only mentioning it here, right now. (But check @Celeste_pewter’s Twitter feed for a script on that, posted on July 23, 2018, if you have the bandwidth to tackle more than one thing.)
Also? If Trump actually tries to do this? He will be SO VERY SUED. Like, EPICLY SUED, THE LIKES OF WHICH WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE, as Benjamin Wittes of LawFareBlog noted in this July 23, 2018 tweet:
That sound you just heard is thousands of lawyers all reaching for their phones at the same time to call former senior national security officials to represent them if and when the President tries to strip them of their security clearances.
Doesn’t matter WHY Trump is doing what he’s doing, or if there’s a strategy or not. This is bullshit and we need to yell about it, just as we yelled about McFaul last week, to make it DAMN CLEAR RIGHT NOW that yanking security clearances from critics is NOT ON.
As usual, Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) got there first with a script. Scroll all the way down for ways to support her work.
Another note: Apparently Trump got this idea from Rand Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky. Paul confirmed as much in a pair of tweets on July 23, 2018:
Just got out of WH meeting with
@realDonaldTrump. I restated to him what I have said in public: John Brennan and others partisans should have their security clearances revoked.
Public officials should not use their security clearances to leverage speaking fees or network talking head fees
So! If you’re from Kentucky — and ONLY if you’re from Kentucky–call Rand Paul, too, and rip him a new one for planting this idea in Trump’s head. Tell him what he did is shameful and dictator-like and demeans the principle of free speech, which the founders deemed so vital that they enshrined it in the First Amendment.
Note also that Paul is NOT up for re-election in 2018, but oh, we will let you know who his Democratic challenger is when the time comes.
Also worthy: Follow Benjamin Wittes on Twitter (@benjaminwittes) and support LawFareBlog, which we’ve recommended in the past.
Also, if you are generally pissed about this, make a relevant sign and join the #OccupyLafayettePark nightly protest in Washington, D.C., or join a #StandOnEveryCorner protest near you. If there isn’t one, consider starting one.
Here are additional ways to support Celeste Pewter, author of the black-backgrounded script above.
You can follow her on Twitter:
You can call your Members of Congress (MoCs) and tweet about your experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.
You can check out The Road to 2018, an organization she’s involved with that defends and promotes vulnerable Democratic Senators. See our post on it:
Subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:
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