Here's a new one: President Trump wants to revoke the security clearances for some of his most prominent critics, vaguely alleging they're profiting from their clearances and providing an official veneer to the Russia investigation.
Why it matters: It's not normal to target a security clearance without specific accusations of wrongdoing.
Sarah Sanders told the press briefing today:
"The president is exploring these mechanisms to remove their security clearance because they’ve politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service security clearances, and making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influences by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate. The president contends that the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence."
The list includes:
- John Brennan, the former CIA director who accused Trump of treason
- James Comey, the former FBI director who wrote a bestseller chronicling Trump's sins — and who doesn't have a security clearance to revoke, per Benjamin Wittes
- James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence
- Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor
- Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor
- Andrew McCabe, the former FBI Deputy Director whose clearance was deacivated when he was fired, according to his spokesperson
What they're saying...
- Clapper on CNN: “For political reasons, this is a petty way of retribution, I suppose, for speaking out ... [with] genuine concerns about President Trump.”
- Hayden to CNN's Jake Tapper: "I [don't] go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write".
Be smart: This would limit the ability of Trump critics to do lucrative consulting work in Washington, providing a potential chilling effect on future presidential critics.