Flake backs effort to rein in Trump on security clearances

Flake backs effort to rein in Trump on security clearances
© Greg Nash
"I think being conservative means not wanting to amass power in any one institution or individual and this basically takes us back to where we were in the 1990s, which was a better place, I think, in terms of security clearances," Flake said when asked if he was supporting the amendment. 
Flake added in a separate statement that Congress should "ensure that the president is not misusing his executive power" by yanking a security clearance "for purely political reasons." 

Warner introduced the amendment earlier this week to make it more difficult to revoke an individual's security clearance.

The measure blocks federal funding from being used to revoke a clearance unless the move complies with two executive orders that outline who can have access to classified information or U.S. code that details what should be factored into whether a person should have access to classified information.

Flake noted that he had constitutional concerns with the amendment as originally drafted. 

The two filed an updated version of the amendment, which notes that the amendment would block funding from being used to revoke security clearances "in compliance with the Constitution of the United States" as well as the legal provisions included in Warner's original amendment.

The amendment comes after Trump sparked bipartisan backlash earlier this month by revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanNew book: Putin tried to reinforce Trump’s belief in a ‘deep state’ undermining him Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump Rand Paul ramps up his alliance with Trump MORE, a former Obama administration official who has been a vocal critic of Trump throughout his presidency.

The White House has said Trump is considering taking the same action against other former intelligence officials, including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Comey: Mueller may be in 'fourth quarter' of Russia probe READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperDem strategist: 'Genuine concern' Russia will escalate interference efforts in 2018 Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law MORE. And Trump threatened to yank the security clearance of Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official who has come under fire from Republicans for his links to Fusion GPS, the firm behind a controversial dossier on Trump.

The Warner-Flake proposal faces an uphill battle to getting attached to the Defense-Labor-Health and Human Services-Education funding bill currently being debated by the Senate. 

To bring up the amendment, the senators would need the consent of every senator or for Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump hints at new executive action on immigration, wants filibuster-proof Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (R-Ky.) to agree to force a vote.