"I think he's just trolling people", Ryan said.
Trump has routinely criticized the intelligence officials in public statements and on Twitter, but at least two of his targets no longer hold security clearances. He seemed intent on leaving it to the White House to decide.
"I've been trying my best to give the President the benefit of the doubt and always expressed potential other theories as to why he behaves as he does with respect to Russian Federation generally and Putin specifically", Clapper told CNN Thursday. "It's an interesting question". "This is something that is in the purview of the executive branch". "Is there no length Trump will not go to stifle opposition?" asked US Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
"It certainly has shadows of some of the worst abuses of the Nixon administration", said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor and national security expert at the University of Texas School of Law who describes himself as a progressive.
People who work in national security jobs often can retain access to classified information after they leave government, subject to numerous same restrictions or investigations as government employees. Hayden said he requires a clearance for one proxy board position to protect sensitive USA information when dealing with a foreign parent company.
Sanders is accusing the officials of having "politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances" as well as "making baseless accusations" against the president. Several of the officials he cited have written books questioning his leadership and his affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Clapper told CNN that his security clearance "has nothing to do with how I or any of us feel about the president. And that's about all I'll say about it".
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Hayden tweeted that losing a security clearance would not affect him much.
But in Trump, Paul has found an audience and an ally as he tries to move the GOP off its hawkish foreign policy traditions.
Some Republicans in Congress, like Virginia Republican Rep. Scott Taylor, say it would be wrong to consider political speech when issuing clearances. Comey has become a prominent critic, calling Trump "morally unfit to be president". But they said such a move would be unprecedented and ill-advised.
He said taking it away is just a "very, very petty thing to do".
Former U.S. intelligence officials are known to keep their security clearances so current officials can consult them.
"An enemies list is ugly, undemocratic and un-American". The clearances are also sometimes required for them to work for government contractors. Rice called Trump's meeting with Putin a "historic mistake". "But you know, I guess, legally the President has that prerogative, and he can suspend and revoke clearances as he sees fit".
"If we start interjecting politics into this, our country's going to be significantly weakened", Berry said.