Jul 23, 2018

Trump’s blacklist: White House considers targeting security clearances

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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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

House Democrats asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for more information Thursday on how the agency chose which companies to award $1.2 billion in food assistance contracts.

By the numbers: More than 98,400 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 379,100 Americans have recovered and more than 14.6 million tests have been conducted.

Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns

Fine testiying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump removed Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector general in April 7 after a group of independent federal watchdogs selected him to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was set up to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 5,547,523 — Total deaths: 348,040 — Total recoveries — 2,269,422Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 1,671,728 — Total deaths: 98,493 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. Trump administration: Mike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. States: New York reports lowest number of new coronavirus deaths since March.
  5. Public health: The final data for remdesivir is in, and its benefits are rather limited.
  6. Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's historic crewed launch.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy