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Paul Ryan says Trump ‘trolling’ people about security clearances

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., takes questions from reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.

House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed President Donald Trump's plan to revoke security clearances from top former national security officials as just a mild form of "trolling," rather than a serious attack on dissent. | AP file photo

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed President Donald Trump’s plan to revoke security clearances from top former national security officials as just a mild form of “trolling,” rather than a serious attack on dissent.

The GOP leader shrugged off the White House plan Tuesday, saying, “I think he’s trolling people, honestly.”

Ryan said the issue of who is able to access security clearances falls within the purview of the executive branch, rather than Congress. He seemed intent on leaving it to the White House to decide. Ryan says, “It’s not really in our purview.”

He dismissed Trump’s threat to revoke the clearances of top former national security officials as simply the president’s way of needling his opponents.

“I think he’s just trolling people,” Ryan said.

The White House on Monday said it was looking into revoking clearances for top former officials who have “politicized” their public service and security clearances by making “baseless accusations” that the Trump administration had improper contact with Russia or was influenced by Russia.