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 CorkerJeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump Corker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' MORE (R-Tenn.) compared President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' 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 BrennanBrennan shreds 'misleading & highly politicized' Barr memo Attorney General Barr puts former intel bosses on notice Iranian president: 'Situation is not suitable for talks' with US MORE, former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperComey: 'The FBI doesn't spy, the FBI investigates' How I learned to love the witch hunt 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era MORE, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump orders intel agencies to cooperate with Barr probe into 'spying' on 2016 campaign Attorney General Barr puts former intel bosses on notice Christopher Steele's nugget of fool's gold was easily disproven — but FBI didn't blink an eye MORE, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTrump accuses Hillary Clinton of 'destroying the lives' of his campaign staffers The Mueller report concludes it was not needed Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators 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.