Corker: Trump considering revoking security clearances is 'banana republic kind of thing'

Corker: Trump considering revoking security clearances is 'banana republic kind of thing'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerThe unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Fox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member MORE (R-Tenn.) compared President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE's consideration of a plan to strip half a dozen former national security and intelligence officials of their security clearances to "a banana republic kind of thing."

The Tennessee senator went on to say that targeting "political enemies" was "the kind of thing that happens in Venezuela."

"I can't even believe that somebody at the White House thought up something like this," Corker said on MSNBC. "I mean, 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."

"You just don't do that, and I can't believe they even allowed it to be aired, just to be honest. I mean, it's a banana republic kind of thing."


The comments from Corker, a frequent Trump critic, came a day after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed to reporters at a press briefing that Trump was considering stripping six former officials of their security clearances, alleging that they had "politicized, and in some cases, monetized their public service."

Among the officials named by Sanders were former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal Online and frighteningly real: 'A Taste of Armageddon' MORE, former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperDomestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? 140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack MORE, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBarr threatened to resign over Trump attempts to fire Wray: report 'Fox News Sunday' to mark 25 years on air Showtime developing limited series about Jan. 6 Capitol riot MORE, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeJohn Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe McCabe defends investigation of Trump before Senate committee: We had 'many reasons' MORE and former national security adviser Susan Rice. 

All the officials named in the Monday briefing served during Obama's administration and all have spoken critically of Trump, particularly over the president's posture towards the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

"Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate," Sanders said on Monday. "And the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence."

Corker is retiring at the end of this term and has backed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in her bid to win the seat.