Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances

Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances
© Anna Moneymaker

Senator Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Optimism grows that infrastructure deal will get to Biden's desk Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE (D-Va.), the vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, announced Friday he would introduce an amendment curtailing the president’s ability to revoke security clearances from his critics.

“I will be introducing an amendment next week to block the President from punishing and intimidating his critics by arbitrarily revoking security clearances. Stay tuned,” he tweeted Friday evening. 

A Warner spokesperson confirmed to The Hill the amendment would be added to the minibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Health and Human Services. She added that more details would be released Monday. 

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However, the amendment is likely to be more symbolic than anything else, as its chances of getting it on the government funding bill in the Republican-controlled Senate are slim.

Several GOP lawmakers including Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, have publicly supported Trump's decision, making it unlikely they would support Warner's forthcoming amendment.

To bring it up to get a vote on the Senate floor as part of the appropriations bill, Warner would need either the consent of every senator or to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Graham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate McConnell warns Democrats against 'artificial timeline' for infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ky.) or to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to agree to force a vote. Neither scenario is likely.

The amendment comes in response to the White House’s announcement this week it was revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director and frequent Trump critic John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanUFOs are an intriguing science problem; Congress must act accordingly How transparency on UFOs can unite a deeply divided nation The world's most passionate UFO skeptic versus the government MORE.

It also threatened to do the same for nine others, all of whom have either been critical of the president or are connected in some way to the Mueller probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Democrats and some Republicans have criticized the move from the Trump administration. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the revocation a “pathetic attempt to silence critics.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) called it "a banana republic kind of thing."