Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) on Thursday introduced a bill to strip Hillary Clinton of her security clearance, joining a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers who say she is unfit to handle classified information.
“When individuals mishandle our country’s most sensitive information they jeopardize national security and shouldn’t be trusted with such an important responsibility,” Cornyn said in a press release.
The bill comes two days after FBI Director James Comey ripped Clinton’s recklessness in using a private email server when she served as secretary of State. Comey did not recommend criminal charges against Clinton.
Republicans in Congress have seized on revoking Clinton’s security clearances as one line of attack against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. They are also pressing for the release of transcripts of the FBI’s interview with Clinton.
The GOP bill would not only revoke Clinton’s security credentials but also those of some of her closest aides.
“If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will. At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information and our bill makes sure of it,” Gardner said in a statement.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have also called for the security clearances to be revoked. Ryan wrote a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper making his request formal on Thursday.
Comey himself seemed to suggest that Clinton and her aides could be subject to administrative punishment, but the precise meaning of his statement remains a topic of fierce debate.
“To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences,” said Comey, who did not mince words in his summary of the investigation’s findings on Tuesday.
“To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now,” he said.
The Gardner-Cornyn bill is titled the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies Act.