Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmmm

For some reason, Michael Flynn apparently still has his security clearance

President Trump has a list of current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials he's apparently excited to strip of their security clearances, all of them critics of his actions and all of them, not coincidentally, involved in the investigation of Russian election tampering and possible collusion by the Trump campaign. Not on the list is his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges of lying to investigators and is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation. Yes, Flynn, it appears, still has his security clearance.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is among those who doesn't think that's a great idea. "I've always liked Gen. Flynn but he's now pleaded guilty to a federal offense," he told reporters on Thursday. "I think he should lose his security clearance." At the same time, Graham appeared unconcerned with Trump's actions against Brennan, who led the CIA for four years — "I can't imagine sharing anything with Brennan given his hatred toward President Trump — I don't think he'd have any constructive input" — and said he's concerned about two former FBI agents, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, still having security clearances.

The reaction to Trump's use of security clearance access against critics has fallen largely along party lines, with former intelligence officials agreeing with Democrats that this is an authoritarian-style effort to stifle dissent and Republicans shrugging or cheering. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), for example, called Brennan "a butthead" and said he doesn't "see why he would need a security clearance, I really don't." When Trump was floating the idea in July, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was incredulous the idea was even explored, telling MSNBC that "when you're going to start taking retribution against people who are your political enemies in this manner, that's the kind of thing that happens in Venezuela. ... I mean, it's a banana republic kind of thing."