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Trump connects revoking Brennan's security clearance to Russia investigation

President Donald Trump drew a connection in a new interview between his decision to revoke former CIA Direct...

Posted: Aug 17, 2018 11:53 AM
Updated: Aug 17, 2018 11:53 AM

President Donald Trump drew a connection in a new interview between his decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance with his involvement in the investigation into Russian election interference.

The comments, published in an interview in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday night, are in contrast to the White House's claim earlier in the day that the decision was not politically motivated but based on a view that Brennan, a harsh Trump critic, posed a security risk. Trump's remarks also raise the question of whether he is retaliating against those who investigated whether his campaign colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election, something he has repeatedly denied.

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"I call it the rigged witch hunt, (it) is a sham. And these people led it!" Trump said in the interview, a full transcript of which was not immediately published by the newspaper. "So I think it's something that had to be done."

Trump cited Brennan as one of several national security officials he holds responsible for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference. Brennan, who served under President Barack Obama, was one of the intelligence chiefs who signed off on the intelligence community's January 2017 assessment that Russia interfered with the intent to help Trump and to hurt Hillary Clinton.

Trump has cast doubt on the US intelligence community's assessment and whether Russia was behind the election meddling.

Trump's decision to revoke a former top intelligence chief's clearance marked an unprecedented use of a president's authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics.

Brennan is the first former national security official to see his security clearance revoked since the White House announced last month that Trump was considering taking that action against Brennan and other vocal critics.

Others on the list include former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director and National Security Agency chief Michael Hayden, and former FBI Director James Comey.

"I don't trust many of those people on that list," Trump said Wednesday. "I think that they're very duplicitous. I think they're not good people."

A White House official confirmed to CNN that the administration is looking at stripping additional security clearances. The official said the names White House press secretary Sarah Sanders gave from the podium on Tuesday -- former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA director and National Security Agency chief Michael Hayden, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, and Bruce Ohr, a current Justice Department official -- are an indication of the former officials who are at risk of losing their clearances in the coming days.

The Washington Post reported Thursday night that Trump made his decision on Brennan weeks ago and the reason for the Wednesday announcement was to distract from the release of former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman's new book. The book and Manigault Newman's subsequent promotional tour have caused headaches for the White House.

Trump thinks the decision to strip Brennan of his security clearance makes him look strong, according to the Post. Trump loathes the former CIA director and is frequently bothered by seeing him on TV, the Post reported.

Trump thinks the action he took against Brennan could be a possible model as he considers moving against other former intelligence officials who have criticized him, the Post reported.

The White House did not provide evidence that Brennan revealed national secrets or disclosed classified information, and did not immediately explain why Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, was not among those whose access was being reviewed.

In an interview on CNN's "New Day" Thursday, Clapper called Trump's drawn connection from the Russia investigation to revoking Brennan's clearance a "candid admission" and "very disturbing."

"I find it very disturbing that here we were in compliance with a request of the then-President of the United States to put into one document our insight and knowledge of the profound threat that Russia posed to this country," Clapper said. "And now, apparently, we're being punished for this. John (Brennan) already has been."

CNN national security analyst Lisa Monaco, a former Obama Homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, echoed Clapper's remarks, saying on "New Day" that Trump's interview revealed "a stunningly candid and disturbing admission on the President's part."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 143879

Reported Deaths: 3676
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto952799
Hinds9520193
Harrison6801105
Jackson6043116
Rankin521996
Lee477094
Madison4595102
Forrest360685
Jones341687
Lauderdale3340142
Lafayette312047
Washington3043106
Lamar273849
Bolivar237583
Oktibbeha237460
Lowndes227562
Neshoba2170113
Panola210347
Marshall206547
Leflore200389
Pontotoc192527
Monroe188877
Sunflower188754
Lincoln183664
Warren171757
Tate163049
Pike159958
Union159025
Copiah158840
Yazoo149538
Scott149429
Coahoma146742
Itawamba144433
Simpson143153
Alcorn142724
Pearl River142067
Prentiss138426
Grenada135844
Adams134148
Leake131643
Holmes124261
George121523
Tippah120430
Covington116434
Winston115824
Wayne115522
Hancock113337
Marion109046
Attala106133
Tishomingo105542
Newton102829
Chickasaw102132
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88153
Clay86226
Jasper80421
Walthall73728
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Stone71014
Carroll70114
Lawrence69814
Noxubee68917
Smith68616
Yalobusha67626
Perry63925
Tunica59519
Greene58222
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis53817
Humphreys52318
Amite50714
Benton48217
Quitman4766
Webster41614
Kemper40615
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson33511
Franklin3155
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1094
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 232506

Reported Deaths: 3457
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30318491
Mobile19260356
Tuscaloosa12446148
Madison12204146
Montgomery12000232
Shelby971276
Baldwin819984
Lee750464
Morgan610447
Calhoun5964113
Etowah585764
Marshall579453
Houston503338
DeKalb460835
Cullman409636
Limestone400844
St. Clair396055
Elmore391061
Lauderdale378353
Walker348096
Talladega334042
Colbert294341
Jackson290524
Blount275436
Autauga261739
Franklin243633
Coffee230315
Dale225454
Dallas219631
Russell21753
Chilton216137
Covington212333
Escambia194031
Tallapoosa168590
Chambers167548
Clarke154919
Pike154714
Marion133935
Winston122523
Lawrence121436
Geneva11678
Marengo116424
Barbour116010
Pickens114118
Bibb113617
Butler113341
Randolph99521
Cherokee98524
Hale91531
Washington89818
Clay88823
Henry8386
Fayette83116
Lowndes78529
Monroe76811
Cleburne74214
Crenshaw70030
Macon69420
Bullock68919
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Wilcox62318
Lamar6227
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene39917
Coosa3064
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