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Comey: Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance shows 'he will punish people who disagree with him'

Comey: Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance shows 'he will punish people who disagree with him'
© Greg Nash

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe new marshmallow media in the Biden era McCabe defends investigation of Trump before Senate committee: We had 'many reasons' The Memo: Trump retains narrow path to victory MORE hit back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE for revoking former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanThe new marshmallow media in the Biden era New Defense chief signals potential troop drawdown: 'All wars must end' Ex-CIA Director Brennan: Trump 'score settling' with Pentagon changes MORE’s security clearance, saying Trump is “sending a message that he will punish people who disagree with him and reward those who praise him.”

Comey said in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday evening that in a democracy “security clearances should not be used as pawns in a petty political game to distract voters from even bigger problems.”

The former FBI director also criticized Trump for praising “despots and dictators like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un” and attacking people like “a war hero like [Sen.] John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDemocrats' squabbling vindicates Biden non-campaign McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Palin responds to Obama: 'He is a purveyor of untruths' MORE [R-Ariz.], members of our country’s free press, and devoted public servants like John Brennan.”

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“American voters must not shrug off or be distracted from the terrible behaviors of his president, who lies to the American people every day, encourages racism, is a misogynist, and always puts his own interests above those of the United State of America,” Comey wrote.

“Politicians enabling this president should be held accountable in future elections,” he continued. “We are each responsible for what we way as well as for our silence.” 

The White House announced earlier Wednesday that Trump had revoked Brennan's security clearance in a move widely regarded as retaliatory against the vocal Trump critic.

The president, in a statement, claimed Brennan was using his former government official status to make “unfounded and outrageous” charges about his administration.

“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos,” Trump said in a statement read by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during Wednesday's press briefing.

Sanders denied that the move was in response to Brennan's criticism; many Trump critics, including Democratic lawmakers, asserted that it was.

Brennan fired back after the decision was announced, saying Trump was trying "to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration" but adding that the move would not silence him.

Comey has also been highly critical of the president, targeting Trump in a book published earlier this year. Trump fired Comey last year.