When the White House announced late last month that President Trump was considering stripping security clearances from administration officials, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) downplayed it as mere “trolling.”
“I think he’s just trolling people,” Ryan said with a shrug during a July 24 news conference.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 24, 2018
Turns out Trump was not “just trolling.”
On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced that former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance has been stripped, and Trump is considering taking the same action against James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr — all critics of the administration to various degrees.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders struggled to explain Trump’s rationale during a press briefing on Wednesday. Meanwhile, without a hint of irony, the president who rage-tweets as a regular pastime accused Brennan of “increasingly frenzied commentary.”
Ryan told several reporters he has no comment about Trump making him look a fool for downplaying the seriousness of the president’s threat.
At the same time, a number of Republican senators indicated they are not only unbothered by Trump’s creeping authoritarianism, but actually support it.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told reporters he supports Trump’s move to revoke Brennan’s security clearance because Brennan isn’t a fan of Trump. Kennedy referred to Brennan as a “butthead.”
“I think I called him a butthead and I meant it,” Kennedy said.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) used less juvenile language, but told Fox & Friends he also backs Trump’s move, citing vague concerns about Brennan’s “partisanship.”
“The former CIA director coming out on cable news shows and just the, the divisive, ah, attitude he was taking,” Johnson said.
During an interview on The Ingraham Angle, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) didn’t directly weigh in on Trump’s move against Brennan, but indirectly supported the president’s cause by arguing for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.
“The email investigation was a joke,” Graham said. “If you had done what she had done, we would not be talking… there are people sitting in jail doing far less than her.”
Trump, meanwhile, spent his Wednesday evening live-tweeting Fox News conspiracy theories. In recent days he has repeatedly tweeted out evidence that he is continuing to obstruct justice, despite the fact that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating him for obstruction of justice.