- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The White House rejected House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s call Wednesday for the administration to deny Hillary Clinton access to classified information during the presidential campaign, saying there’s a “longstanding tradition” to provide both major-party nominees with intelligence briefings.

“We should leave those decisions in the hands of our intelligence professionals,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “They’ll provide the same information to both candidates.”

Mr. Ryan said Mrs. Clinton’s access to secret government information should be denied, in the wake of FBI Director James B. Comey’s finding that Mrs. Clinton was “extremely careless” with classified information on her private email system during her tenure as secretary of state. Mr. Comey is recommending that no criminal charges be brought in the probe.

The speaker said if Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper doesn’t deny access to Mrs. Clinton, Congress should step in.

But Mr. Earnest said the White House expects both Mrs. Clinton and Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, to receive the classified national security briefings after they are formally nominated at their respective party conventions later this month.

“There’s a longstanding tradition of providing briefings to the major party nominees to make a smooth transition much more likely,” Mr. Earnest said.

He also said Mr. Obama didn’t talk about the situation with Mrs. Clinton on Air Force One as they flew to North Carolina for their first joint campaign rally.

“It didn’t come up,” he said.

The president’s spokesman also ducked questions about whether anyone on Mrs. Clinton’s staff at the State Department should be punished or have their security clearance revoked.

“I’m not going to render any judgment on that,” Mr. Earnest said, noting that the Justice Department is still considering Mr. Comey’s recommendation.

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