President Donald Trump threatened for months to revoke the security clearances of former officials who criticized his policies, and this week he started with ex-CIA chief John Brennan, who has described Trump’s policies and behavior in office as “treasonous” and “disgraceful,” Foreign Policy reported. Brennan retaliated on Friday by criticizing Trump for revoking his security clearance and accusing the President of being “drunk on power.”
“The fact that he’s using a security clearance of a former CIA director as a pawn in his public relations strategy I think is just so reflective of somebody who, quite frankly, I don’t want to use this term maybe, but he’s drunk on power. He really is, and I think he’s abusing the powers of that office,” Brennan told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow during an interview.
Trump on Wednesday accused the former CIA director of “lying” and giving “increasingly frenzied commentary” on television. Brennan said on Friday that he believes the country “is in a crisis in terms of what Trump has done and is liable to do.”
“Are the Republicans on the Hill who have given him a pass — are they going to wait for a disaster to happen before they actually find their backbones and spines to speak up against somebody who clearly, clearly is not carrying out his responsibilities with any sense of purpose and common sense from the standpoint of national security?” Brennan went on to say, CNN adds.
Meanwhile, the White House has drafted documents revoking the security clearances of current and former officials whom Trump has demanded be punished for criticizing him or playing a role in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to senior administration officials, Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, some presidential aides echoed concerns raised by outside critics that the threatened revocations smack of a Nixonian enemies list, with little or no substantive national security justification. Particular worry has been expressed inside the White House about Trump’s statement Friday that he intends “very quickly” to strip the clearance of current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Trump, speaking to reporters as he left the White House to spend the weekend at his New Jersey golf club, called Ohr “a disgrace,” charging that he is tied to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of the Russia matter. “For him to be in the Justice Department, and to be doing what he did, that is a disgrace. That is disqualifying for Mueller,” Trump said.
His comments followed the release of a statement signed by 14 former CIA directors and deputy directors from Republican and Democratic administrations, as well as a former director of national intelligence, who called Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s clearance a blatant attempt to “stifle free speech” and send an “inappropriate and deeply regrettable” signal to other public servants.