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 ComeyTrump vows to get rid of 'stench' at DOJ, FBI House Judiciary on NY Times article: I intend to subpoena 'McCabe Memos' Hillicon Valley: NYT says Rosenstein wanted to wear wire on Trump | Twitter bug shared some private messages | Vendor put remote-access software on voting machines | Paypal cuts ties with Infowars | Google warned senators about foreign hacks MORE hit back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE for revoking 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’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 McCainTrump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ 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.