White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump warns Iran’s Rouhani: Threaten us ‘and you will suffer’ Pompeo: Iran’s leaders resemble the mafia NYT’s Haberman: Trump ‘often tells the truth’ MORE is exploring whether to remove the security clearance of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanThe Memo: Summit fallout hits White House CNN’s Camerota to Santorum on Putin: ‘Do you get dizzy living in upside-down world?’ There was nothing remotely treasonous in Trump’s performance with Putin MORE and other top Obama-era intelligence officials.
Sanders accused Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThere was nothing remotely treasonous in Trump’s performance with Putin The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit Clapper: Intel officials showed Trump evidence of Putin’s role in election meddling MORE, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFormer Obama aide to Comey: ‘No one is asking for your advice’ Comey to Dems: ‘Don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left’ There was nothing remotely treasonous in Trump’s performance with Putin MORE and others of “politicizing” and “monetizing” their public service.
“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances,” Sanders said during the daily press briefing. “Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia, or being influenced by Russia, against the president is extremely inappropriate and the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”
Sanders’s comments came after Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill’s Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders’s Russia resolution, calls it ‘crazy hatred’ against Trump MORE (R-Ky.) suggested on Twitter that Brennan should have his security clearance revoked.
“Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump?” Paul wrote. He said he was meeting with Trump Monday to ask the president to remove Brennan’s security clearance.
Brennan and other former officials have been publicly critical of the president’s comments about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump sparked bipartisan criticism last week when he cast doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian election interference — a remark he later walked back.
Last week, Brennan described Trump’s remarks alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin following their meeting in Helsinki as “nothing short of treasonous” and suggested they exceeded the threshold of impeachment “high crimes & misdemeanors.”
Sanders also said Monday that Trump is “looking to take away” security clearances belonging to former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeBuck Wild: ‘Is President Trump paranoid or is the Deep State out to get him?’ Why does Congress keep playing political games on FBI oversight? FBI confidence in leaders sank after Comey was fired: report MORE — the FBI official who was fired by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump ramps up scrutiny of legal immigrants Data confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue The FIRST STEP Act sets up a dangerous future MORE in March before the publication of an inspector general report that criticized his conduct.
Sanders declined to provide a timeline for when the security clearances might be revoked and also pushed back at the suggestion that the president is targeting individuals who had spoken out against him.
“No, I think you are creating your own story there,” Sanders said in response to a reporter’s question. “The president doesn’t like the fact that people are politicizing agencies and departments that are specifically meant not to be political.”
Sanders went on to refute the suggestion that Trump is himself politicizing matters of national security by going after his “political enemies.”
Trump has repeatedly derided special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE‘s ongoing investigation into Russian interference which is looking into whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. The president has repeatedly referred to the probe as a “witch hunt.”
“The president’s not making baseless accusations of contact with a foreign government,” Sanders said.
“When you have the highest level of security clearance, when you’re the person who holds the nation’s deepest, most sacred secrets at your hands, and you go out and you make false accusations against the president of the United States, he thinks that‘s something to be very concerned with and we’re exploring what those options are and what that looks like,” Sanders added.
Updated at 3:23 p.m.
Published at Mon, 23 Jul 2018 18:57:43 +0000