Trump targets Obama-era critics' security clearances

President Donald Trump shakes hands with James Comey director of the FBI during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House on Jan. 22 2017

"They've politicised and in some cases monetised their public service and security clearances", Sanders said during the daily briefing.

The White House on Monday threatened to strip six former USA intelligence and law enforcement officials, including Obama-era CIA director John Brennan, of their security clearances as President Donald Trump considers striking back at critics of his summit meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"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".

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Brennan, Clapper, Hayden and Rice have all been critical of Trump's foreign policy, including the USA president's embrace of Russian President Vladimir at a summit in Helsinki, Finland.

When asked if it is the president's position that any former Obama official that holds clearance and makes political statements about the president should have their clearance revoked, Sanders said: "As of now we're exploring the mechanism on those specific names". "Fox News host Tucker Carlson on July 19 called Brennan an out-of-the-closet extremist" with "a documented history of dishonesty" and said he shouldn't have a clearance.

The former official, John Brennan, was CIA director under President Barack Obama and helped produce the intelligence reports that first found Russian Federation meddled in the election.

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Paul confirmed in a tweet on Monday that he had met with Trump and had urged him to revoke these clearances. "The fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with no legitimacy".

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, was among those who Sanders mentioned a potential target of the revocation.

"There is a formal process for doing this, but you know I guess legally the president has that prerogative", Clapper said on CNN. "He can suspend or revoke clearances as he sees fit".

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A decision to strip a former official of a security clearance would prove a striking use of presidential power. And if he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that's a awful precedent, and it's a very sad commentary.

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