President Donald Trump is looking into the process required to revoke security clearances from half a dozen former Obama administration officials who have been critical of Trump’s presidency, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.
Trump is looking specifically at the security clearances of former CIA director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey, former national security director James Clapper, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former CIA director Mike Hayden and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, Huckabee Sanders said.
“The president is exploring the mechanism to remove security clearances because they’ve politicized and, in some cases, monetized their public service and security clearances,” she said.
She accused the former intelligence officials of “making baseless accusations” against Trump and said their clearances give “inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”
Brennan last week described Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “nothing short of treasonous” after the president stood beside Putin in Helsinki and challenged the findings of American intelligence agencies that determined Moscow had interfered with the election.
The president told reporters he didn’t “see any reason why” Russia would have been involved, despite indictments handed down one week earlier for a dozen Russian intelligence officers who are accused of election meddling.
Trump later said he misspoke and he has “full faith and support for America’s intelligence agencies.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said on Twitter that he told Trump, "John Brennan and others partisans should have their security clearances revoked."
"Public officials should not use their security clearances to leverage speaking fees or network talking head fees," he wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Hayden responded to reports that the president was looking into revoking his security clearance in multiple tweets Monday.
“I don’t go back for classified briefings,” Hayden wrote. “Won’t have any effect on what I say or write.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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