07.07.16

Paul Ryan Asks That Hillary Clinton Not Receive Classified Information as Candidate (Time)

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan formally requested on Wednesday that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton not receive classified information from the government during her time as a candidate.

Ryan’s request follows FBI Director James Comey’srecommendation on Tuesday thatno criminal charges be broughtagainst Clinton over her use of a personal email server as Secretary of State. Comey criticized Clinton and her staff for being “extremely careless” in handling classified information, noting that 110 of Clinton’s emails contained classified information at the time they were sent and received. On Thursday, hetestified before Congress, where House Republicans grilled Comey about the investigation and its conclusions.

“As a former vice presidential nominee, I am keenly aware that Secretary Clinton is set to begin receiving classified intelligence briefings after the Democratic National Convention,” Ryan said in a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. “Given the FBI’s findings, denying Secretary Clinton access to classified information certainly constitutes appropriate sanctions. This is necessary to reassure the public that our nation’s secrets are secure.”

Ryan also sent a letter to Comey, requesting that he release all of the findings from the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s emails, saying “there are simply too many unanswered questions.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, called Ryan’s request “as predictable as it is absurd.”

“Providing an intelligence briefing for the party nominees is a sound practice, and is designed both to prepare the candidates for office and to help them avoid representations during the campaign that may adversely affect the national interest before or after election,” Schiff said in a statement on Thursday.

“With Trump, the question isn’t whether the briefings should occur, but whether they would do any good,” he said.

Asked about Ryan’s comments at press briefing on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that decision would be left up to intelligence officials.

“The expectation that the [Director of National Intelligence] has is that they’ll provide the same information to both candidates,” he said. “When we’re talking about the safety and security of classified information, we should leave those decisions in the hands of our intelligence professionals and not risk them being sullied by the political debate.”