A bipartisan pair of lawmakers wants to rein in Donald Trump’s abuse of power regarding security clearances that were both unduly granted to and pulled from top administration officials. NBC News reports that overall, the Trump administration overruled career officials on security clearances some 30 times, including in the case of both Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared Kushner. Last August, Trump also revoked the security clearance of former CIA John Brennan, who has regularly criticized Trump.
Now the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine plan to introduce the Integrity in Security Clearance Determinations Act Thursday to prevent such political abuse of security clearances. The legislation would prohibit the executive branch from yanking clearances as a form of political retaliation and require security clearance approval to be based on a set of published criteria.
“Americans should be able to have confidence that the security clearance process is being used only to protect our nation’s greatest secrets,” Sen. Warner told NBC News. “Our bipartisan bill will make clear that security clearances are not to be used as a tool to punish political opponents or reward family members.”
How refreshing. Just one more instance where Trump took a hacksaw to the set of “norms” other presidents have followed for centuries. Now lawmakers are left with no choice but to try to codify some of those norms into law if they want to ensure that Trump might actually do the right thing on any given occasion.