UPDATE #2: Speaking with the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews, Sen. Cory Gardner tries and fails miserably to explain his silence on Trump disclosing classified information versus his legislation last year to strip Hillary Clinton of her security clearance:
Last year, [Gardner] introduced a measure aimed at Hillary Clinton that would have revoked her security clearances after it was revealed she used a private server to handle emails while serving as U.S. Secretary of State.
His bill also called for new rules, notably that “no officer or employee of the Federal Government who has exercised extreme carelessness in the handling of classified information may be granted a security clearance,” according to the measure.
Asked whether the current situation was similar, Gardner tried to draw a distinction. “That legislation was talking about a legal right, at the time that was the issue — somebody who had a legal right to the information,” he said.
It’s the kind of hypocrisy that requires no explanation, folks. It’s right out in front where you can see it.
UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner’s belated non-response:
“Any reports of sensitive information being revealed to the Russians is concerning. We should always be cautious when discussing issues of national security with them – classified or not. Vladimir Putin is a thug and the Russians are no friend to the United States.”
Denver7’s Blair Miller tracks responses to the latest revelations of President Donald Trump disclosing highly classified information to the Russians during an Oval Office meeting last week–or in the case of Colorado Republicans, the profound lack thereof:
Sen. Michael Bennet (D)
“If this is true, the president should explain to the American people why he divulged classified information to the Putin regime. Sharing intelligence with an adversary risks jeopardizing counterterrorism cooperation with partners and undermines U.S. national security.”
Rep. Diana DeGette (D)
“If [the reports are] true, this is deeply disturbing. Is @POTUS jeopardizing intelligence, US allies and the fight against ISIS,” DeGette tweeted.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D)
“President Trump and his surrogates’ cozy relationship with Russian officials has always been concerning but his alleged sharing of sensitive and classified information with Russian officials is alarming and constitutes a serious national security risk. The Trump Administration’s erratic and dysfunctional nature plus a lack of transparency when it comes to their Russian ties is jeopardizing our security and democracy. Now more than ever, we need an independent investigation.”
Rep. Jared Polis (D)
“These reports are consistent with the reckless behavior we have come to expect of President Trump. I sincerely hope that he did not revealed secret information to the Russians that might violate our international agreements and make it harder for us to get good intelligence about ISIS and other threats in the future.”
From our Colorado GOP delegation, a fat wad of “no comment.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (R)
A spokesperson said: “The Congressman does not have enough information as to the nature of the classified material in order to comment.”
Rep. Ken Buck (R)
A spokesman for Buck said the congressman was in a meeting. The spokesman said that if he received anything from Rep. Buck that he would provide a statement.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R)
Requests for comment made to Sen. Gardner have so far gone unreturned.
Rep. Scott Tipton (R)
Requests for comment made to Rep. Tipton have so far gone unreturned.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R)
Requests for comment made to Rep. Lamborn have so far gone unreturned.
It’s particularly noteworthy that neither Mike Coffman nor Cory Gardner have issued any statement about this, since Coffman hasn’t hesitated to criticize Trump when expedient and Gardner is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Last year, Gardner even introduced legislation to strip Hillary Clinton of her security clearance during the mountain-of-a-molehill brouhaha over her use of a private email server as Secretary of State.
Is it as hypocritical as it looks? Yes, it is. Is it unexpected? Of course not.
What happens next? We’ll let you know as soon as they figure something out.