Senator John McCain has spent the past week launching an all-out frontal assault on Donald Trump’s presidency from several different angles. He’s publicly slammed Trump for being “unpatriotic.” He’s vowing to shut down all of Trump’s appointments and issue subpoenas to get to the bottom of the Niger scandal. Now it appears McCain may also be using a backdoor to try to get Trump’s daughter Ivanka ousted from the White House.
Out of nowhere today, Senator Ben Cardin is suddenly calling for Ivanka Trump’s security clearance to be reviewed – and ostensibly revoked (link). Members of the House of Representatives have previously called for this, but Cardin is the first Senator to do so, making it a big deal – as Senators are viewed as far more individually influential in this regard. So what does this have to do with John McCain?
Last week McCain teamed with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin to publicly condemn Donald Trump for having failed to implement the new U.S. sanctions against Russia (link). Just nine days after McCain and Cardin formed this bipartisan alliance for attacking Trump, suddenly Cardin is going after Ivanka’s security clearance, even though there has been nothing new on the Ivanka front this week that would have prompted Cardin to choose now to make his move.
Cardin can’t get anyone’s security clearance revoked on his own. But by raising the topic, he is opening the door for McCain to announce that he has no choice but to agree with Cardin (and there’s every reason to believe the two of them would have coordinated this from the start). Then suddenly the two of them would have a bipartisan movement for getting Ivanka’s clearance taken away. That could generate enough public pressure to force the issue. If the intel community then recommends that the clearance be revoked, Donald Trump would face an impossible situation: either create a massive scandal by trying to overrule that recommendation, or fire his own daughter.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report