WASHINGTON — President Trump wants to strip former Obama intelligence officials of their security clearances for making “baseless” accusations against him on Russia, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.
Trump is seeking to take away access to sensitive material for former CIA Director John Brennen, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former NSA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Sanders told reporters.
All have been tough on Trump in TV appearances.
“The president is exploring these mechanisms to remove security clearances because they’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and their security clearances and making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate,” Sanders said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Monday Trump should revoke Brennan’s clearance, but Sanders said Trump wants to go further.
“Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan’s security clearance, he’s also looking into the clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice and McCabe,” Sanders said at the White House briefing. “The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearances because they politicize and in some cases monetize their public service and security clearances, making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia.”
Asked by reporters if this was a violation of the officials’ First Amendment rights, Sanders disagreed.
The president doesn’t like that they are “politicizing” the agencies.