Trump connects Russia probe, action on Brennan

John Brennan

Trump revokes security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan

Sanders, giving a statement to reporters during the daily White House press briefing, said Brennan has leveraged his clearance to make "wild outbursts" and criticisms about Trump.

Retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, responded to Trump's move by praising Brennan and asking the president to revoke his security clearance as well.

"So I think it's something that had to be done", Mr Trump said.

Although Trump recognized that former intelligence agency and law enforcement heads "historically" have been allowed to retain their clearances as a "professional courtesy" to enable them to advise successors when needed, he said "neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan's continued access to classified information".

It was an angry Paul who last month called for Brennan's clearance to be yanked, after Brennan called Trump's appearance at a news conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin "nothing short of treasonous".

Trump said he was considering stripping the security clearances of other top officials who have criticized him, including former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former national-security adviser Susan Rice, and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. "I never thought I would see it here in the United States".

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They include former national intelligence director James Clapper and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

"The proximate target was John Brennan, but the real intent of today's announcement was to simultaneously shift and silence", he said.

Now Donald Trump has had his revenge, revoking the former CIA chief's security clearance - and threatening a number of other national intelligence officials, all of whom have one thing in common: they've also been critical of the president.

The opposition research firm hired former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 USA presidential campaign to compile a dossier of information on Trump and his ties to Russian Federation.

He told MSNBC Deadline host Nicolle Wallace that he was completely blindsided by the move, only finding out from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders' afternoon press briefing instead of first being contacted by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats or CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Clapper noted he has had no access to intelligence information since he left government on the day Trump was inaugurated.

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Meanwhile, Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare said Comey told him he doesn't even have a security clearance to revoke and that he was "read out" when he left the government, which he said is normal practice.

Brennan has been a sharp critic of Trump.

He said Brennan of participated in a "shredding of constitutional rights, lied to Congress and has been monetizing and making partisan political use of his clearance since his departure". But, again, there may be something I don't know.

Asked what linked those threatened by the White House, Clapper said he and the others have been outspoken about the Trump administration, have "directly run afoul of it" or have taken actions the president dislikes.

The White House did not claim that Brennan gave away classified information or national secrets.

In his op-ed, Brennan pointed to Trump's remarks as a candidate in 2016, when he jokingly asked Russian Federation to hack and find the missing 30,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's private email server. "And that's always been the metric when it comes to a revocation of a clearance", Price said.

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All are critics of the president or are people who Trump appears to believe are against him.

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