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 ComeyCNN's Jeffrey Toobin says he regrets role in playing up Clinton email story Federal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report State cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review MORE hit back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE for revoking former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Trump denies knowledge of Barr meeting in Italy, says it would be appropriate Krystal Ball defends praise of Yang: I am not 'a Russian plant' 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 McCainPublisher announces McSally book planned for May release Democrats lead Trump by wide margins in Minnesota Here's what to watch this week on impeachment 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.