Monday on MSNBC’s “Deadline,” NBC News national affairs analyst John Heilemann reacted to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announcing that the administration was exploring whether to remove the security clearance of former top Obama-era intelligence and national security officials.
Heilemann said, “Some of the names on the list are Republicans. Many of the names on the list are people who have no known partisan affiliation who have served both Democrat and Republican administrations alike.”
He continued, “There is nothing surprising about this. This is a president who has repeatedly, over and over again, to the point where we now don’t really notice, talks about the press as the enemy of the people, adopting Stalinist rhetoric in a tangible way. He has threatened to pull network broadcast licenses, threatened to withdraw White House reporters’ credentials. It’s the same thing. He is beginning to—as he feels more threatened, as he feels more imperiled—he is beginning to draw up this enemies list. The enemies are the people who speak out against him and have power. The rabble doesn’t bother him. The fact there are Democrats in the country doesn’t bother him. It’s the fact—this came at the end of the last week, it’s a pointed thing, we saw last—it’s the way in which—we talked about this on Friday—the way in which you could hear the collective bipartisan national security and intelligence establishment going, ‘Oh, my God, what did we just see this week?’ And now on this Monday that he would turn against them in a way that obviously disrespects civil liberties, disrespects free press, is an autocratic kind of move, the kind of thing you’d see in a banana republic. It is not surprising in the least. I find it horrifying obviously, but that it happened on this Monday after what happened last week does not surprise me at all.”
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