Politics

GOP Senators Want Kerry to Suspend Clinton's Security Clearance

Speaker Ryan takes similar step in the House over email issue

Sen. Marco Rubio's letter says Secretary of State John Kerry's responsibilities "include maintaining the integrity of the department and ensuring that classified materials are preserved to prevent unauthorized access." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hillary Clinton and her aides should have their security clearances suspended, Marco Rubio and nine other Republican senators said in a letter Thursday to Secretary of State John Kerry.  

The letter comes after FBI Director James B. Comey said Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, and her deputies while she was secretary of state were "extremely careless in their handling of sensitive, highly classified information."  

But Comey also said "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case against Clinton, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she would not bring charges against the former first lady.  

The letter, signed by Sens. David Perdue of Georgia, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Jim Risch of Idaho, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, also said the department should remove clearances for advisers Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan, among others. Those three figure prominently in Clinton's presidential campaign.  

"Your responsibilities as secretary of state include maintaining the integrity of the department and ensuring that classified materials are preserved to prevent unauthorized access," the letter said.  

The letter goes on to ask whether Clinton and her aides have active security clearance at the State Department, whether steps are being taken to impose sanctions on them and whether other agency employees had security or administrative sanctions imposed on them.  

"There is simply no excuse for Hillary Clinton’s decision to set up a home-cooked email system which left sensitive and classified national security information vulnerable to theft and exploitation by America’s enemies," the letter said.  

Gardner also introduced legislation with Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn that would revoke Clinton's security clearance.  

"If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will," Gardner said in a statement. "At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information and our bill makes sure of it."  

In the House, Speaker Paul D. Ryan has asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, to exclude Clinton from classified briefings while a candidate for president.

Contact Garcia at  EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com  and follow him on Twitter  @EricMGarcia .

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