Donald Trump is preparing to revoke more security clearances from officials tied to the Russia investigation, the Washington Post reports.
According to the Washington Post’s White House sources briefed on the matter, the president is gearing up to strip more security clearances from officials who have either criticized him or have played a role in the investigation into alleged Russian election meddling. While Trump has fired — or at least threatened to fire — dozens of officials tied to the Russia investigation over the past 19 months, his attacks are reportedly about to intensify.
This latest reportage comes just a day after Trump stripped former CIA director John Brennan of his security clearance. As Vanity Fair reports, the Trump administration initially claimed that Brennan had been fired on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for mishandling the probe into 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email server. This was contradicted by President Trump himself, the president having told a reporter that Brennan had been fired over “this Russia thing,” which is, according to the president, “a made-up story.”
In response to the firing, John Brennan authored a column for the New York Times, in which the former director of the CIA called Donald Trump’s claims of not having colluded with the Russians “hogwash.” The president, Brennan wrote, revoked his security clearance in an effort to silence him.
“Mr. Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him.”
According to Brennan, it is now “critically important” that Robert Mueller and his team of investigators be allowed to complete the Russia probe.
Analysis: Trump has now fired or threatened most senior officials related to the Russia investigation https://t.co/7TTCfrERH2— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 16, 2018
Allegedly, Trump did not get much resistance for firing Brennan from White House staff, since the former CIA director is “widely disliked” in the West Wing.
The Washington Post’s most recent bombshell report gives credence to Brennan’s claims, especially when put in the context of the sentiment Donald Trump has been publicly expressing — which is seemingly to end the Mueller probe no matter what. The president has repeatedly called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other officials to end the probe, calling it a “witch hunt” repeatedly on Twitter amongst other social media platforms.
Donald Trump’s continual revocation of security clearances hitherto held by individuals associated with Mueller’s Russia investigation is starting to resemble President Nixon’s decision to force the firing of Watergate special counsel Archibald Cox according to Benjamin Wittes — a Brookings Institution fellow — in his writing for the Post.
Having revoked Brennan’s security clearance, Trump is eager to move against other officials according to the Washington Post. The president has reportedly made a list of people he’d like to strip of clearances.
That list, if it in fact exists, has yet to be made public.