Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump considering revoking clearance for ex-Obama officials

Trump considering revoking clearance for ex-Obama officials

U.S. President Donald Trump is reflected in a window as he steps off a bus prior to delivering remarks at a showcase of American-made products event at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 23, 2018.

The White House on Monday threatened to strike back at critics of President Donald Trump's contacts with Russian Federation by revoking the security clearances of six former US officials, drawing accusations that he was abusing his power and aiming to stifle dissent. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Monday night following former CIA Director John Brennan's criticism of the president's performance with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

After Trump gave credence following his summit in Helsinki to Putin's denials about Russian meddling in the 2016 US election despite findings by the American intelligence community, Brennan called Trump's remarks "nothing short of treasonous".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump's administration is also considering taking away the security clearances of former FBI Director James Comey, a vocal critic fired by Trump a year ago. John Cornyn of Texas, said Monday that he can understand Trump's aggravation at some former officials who "have obviously donned the uniform of the opposition team".

"The president doesn't like the fact that people are politicizing agencies and departments that are specifically meant to not be political and not meant to be monetized off of security clearances", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday.

"Just got out of WH meeting with @realDonaldTrump", he tweeted later in an update.

And one of the individuals - Hayden - told Vox's Alex Ward that revoking his security clearance won't stop him from speaking out.

The United States should not reveal secrets to people calling President Donald Trump "treasonous", Sen. While standing next to Putin, Trump had openly questioned his own intelligence agencies' conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the 2016 USA election to help Trump and seemed to accept Putin's insistence that Russia's hands were clean. He added, "This is something that's in the purview of the executive branch, I think some of these people have lost their security clearances, some people keep their clearance that's something the executive branch deals with, that's not really in our purview".

McCabe's spokeswoman criticized the move and the motives.

"You would think the White House would check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps...", she wrote.

Some of targeted officials appeared to no longer have security clearances.

"It's a disputed question".

But they agreed that a president asking to revoke the clearance of a political critic would be unprecedented. Rice was former President Barack Obama's national security adviser.

"It would be horrendous".

"That's something we do for allies", he added.

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"Legalities aside, it seems like a awful mistake to use the security clearance system as an instrument of political vendettas", added Aftergood.

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