“So it stands to reason that individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ with classified information should be denied further access to that type of information.”
Those are the words of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in an attack on Hillary Clinton last summer. His speech was an exaggerated attempt to make a treasonous mountain out of an email server mole hill. Now, however, after President Trump was caught giving top secret intelligence to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the words have new value.
The House of Representatives is the lone body with the power to impeach a president and, as Speaker, Ryan is in a uniquely powerful position do something about this unprecedented danger to national security.
Below are Ryan’s own words from a time when there was only an imagined threat to the U.S. We will see soon if he acts on those words now that there is a clear and present danger to national security within the Oval Office.
The video is below, followed by a transcript of his speech from July 7, 2016.
“This morning, FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Right now, there are still far more questions than answers regarding the investigation of Secretary Clinton. The director himself has said that this matter requires ‘unusual transparency.’ And I completely agree.
“That is why I have sent a letter to Director Comey requesting that he release all of the unclassified findings of this investigation.
“In addition, I have sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence requesting that he refrain from providing classified briefings to Secretary Clinton during the campaign. Here is why. In Director Comey’s statement on Tuesday, he said, and I will quote:
“‘This is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.’
“And just this morning, he stated that there are often ‘very severe consequences’ for mishandling classified information.
“So it stands to reason that individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ with classified information should be denied further access to that type of information.
“I want to make an additional point here. The recklessness we have seen from Secretary Clinton—this sort of cavalier attitude toward accountability and responsibility—it is not confined to one person or one government agency. It goes on every day in this administration.
“Just this morning, two congressional committees released a report detailing how the administration unlawfully spent billions of dollars [on] Obamacare. This was not an inadvertent violation. There was a clear, concerted effort to circumvent the law and the Constitution.
“Also this week, a commission established by Congress released a report that shows that the Veterans Administration still has not changed the way that they do business. As a result, too many veterans continue to wait too long for care. Meanwhile, VA bureaucrats face little or no accountability for their failures.
“These things are going on every day in our government. We in Congress have a responsibility to provide oversight, and we will fulfill that obligation.
“In addition, as part of our Better Way agenda, we have put forward several ideas on how best to restore accountability and reclaim the separation of powers. I encourage you to learn more about this by going to better.gop.”
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Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com