On Monday afternoon, President Trump unveiled his plan to punish the prominent Obama-era law enforcement and intelligence community officials who dare to speak out and criticize him for his constant excuses and defenses of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
The White House is looking to strip a slew of former prominent officials of their security clearances, including former CIA Directors Michael Hayden and John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Considering that none of these people work in government anymore, it’s unclear what Trump hopes to achieve by this beyond a superficial attempt to strip credibility away from his critics.
“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances. Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia, or begin influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate and the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during today’s briefing.
The hypocrisy of watching President Trump hawk his “MAKE OUR FARMERS GREAT AGAIN” hats at a public appearance literally minutes after accusing his enemies of monetizing their public service was somehow lost on all those involved.
Undaunted, the targets of his wrath took to Twitter to respond and let Trump know that he can hurl all the petty disrespect and performative punishments at them that he wants, but it’s not going to stop them from speaking out and exposing the truth about Trump’s behavior.
Gen. Hayden, undoubtedly with a heavy roll of his eyes, took to Twitter to tell the president that he doesn’t even need his security clearance.
I dont go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) July 23, 2018
Former DNI James Clapper called into CNN to state that he has no use for his security clearance anymore and decried the move as a “petty thing to do” and that it would have “no bearing whatsoever” on his opinion of Trump.
James Clapper on CNN: "I don't get the briefings. I don't have access to classified info … Haven't had a case to use it and has no bearing whatsoever on my regard or lack thereof for President Trump or what he's doing … I think this is just a very, very petty thing to do."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 23, 2018
The move is classic Trump, who is notorious for not only his pettiness in his feuds with his critics but also his reliance on performative but meaningless actions that his base will eat up as proof of his greatness but ultimately have no real consequences in the long run.
But it’s proof that the constant criticism and condemnations from President Obama’s national security teams are starting to grate on the President — and his guilty conscience is written all over his latest effort to punish the voices of truth.