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Trump’s blacklist: White House considers targeting security clearances

Sanders points during a press briefing
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday that President Trump is considering revoking former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, as well as those of several other former intelligence officials, claiming they’ve "politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service security clearances" and have made "baseless accusations" against the president.

Why it matters: These former intelligence officials have all been quick to criticize the president, with Brennan being a leading voice of opposition following Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As some White House reporters pointed out in the briefing, revoking their clearances has the optics of political retaliation.

Others on Trump's blacklist: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former National Security Advisor Director Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

"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."
— Sarah Sanders

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