Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Trump connects Russian Federation probe to revoking Brennan’s clearance

Trump connects Russian Federation probe to revoking Brennan’s clearance

Last month, the White House said they were looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics, including former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey; former deputy Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; former national security adviser Susan Rice and former CIA director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush).

On Tuesday, Brennan responded on Twitter to a tweet Trump posted calling former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a "dog".

"The White House knows as well as anyone that Brennan, in his criticism of Trump, has never disclosed classified information".

Trump's statement said Brennan had engaged in "increasingly frenzied commentary" and abused his access to classified information by using it to "sow division and chaos". Trump said he tended to believe Putin's denials about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election despite the USA intelligence community view that Moscow was to blame.

Some suggested Trump might have grander, and more nefarious ambitions: he could be testing the waters on stripping Mueller of his security clearance.

This is a scathing retort less than 24 hours after the White House announced that President Donald Trump had ordered the revocation of Brennan's security clearances, a move that many saw as a symbolic threat created to silence critics of this administration. And they wonder if he will next choose to target those who now work on the investigation, which Trump has called a "witch hunt".

The 62-year-old former intelligence official, who served in the previous Obama administration, has been one of the staunchest critics of President Trump and his policies.

"I do believe that Mr. Trump chose to take this action, as he's done with others, to try to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration", he said, adding that he would not be deterred from speaking out.

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Following the president's summit last month with Russia's Vladimir Putin, Brennan - who headed the Central Intelligence Agency under Barack Obama - described Trump's behaviour as "nothing short of treasonous".

Trump's decision to revoke the clearance came on the heels of new tweets issued by Brennan over the past several weeks attacking the president.

Republican lawmakers gave mixed reviews to Trump's decision, with some criticizing it and others saying Brennan had acted inappropriately with his comments about the president.

"I don't trust many of those people on that list", Trump said.

The announcement was made by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. And the campaign's former deputy chairman, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.

Former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies can usually keep access to classified information after leaving office "so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insight and as a professional courtesy", Trump said in an August 15 statement. He has been critical of Trump and told CNN on Wednesday that he has no plans to stop speaking out when he's asked for his views on the Trump administration. Strzok had worked on the Mueller investigation but was removed after anti-Trump text messages that Strzok exchanged with an FBI lawyer became public.

The Russia probe is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. domestic intelligence service.

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