The morning after former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance was removed by President Donald Trump, Brennan published a ripping op-ed in the New York Times with one clear message: “Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a briefing Wednesday that the decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearances was influenced by his “erratic” behavior.
The former CIA director, however, called it a “politically motivated decision” and “an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge [Trump].”
The president teased the idea of revoking security clearances of former officials back in July, an idea some didn’t take seriously at the time. Speaker Paul Ryan said the president was “trolling people.”
But Wednesday’s press conference proved just how serious Trump was in his threat, making Brennan the first target. Brennan has been an outspoken critic of Trump ever since he left the CIA in 2017 and says he will continue to stand up to the president.
This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent. https://t.co/TNzOxhP9ux
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 15, 2018
Brennan wrote in his Times op-ed that Russian interference in the election to swat public opinion away from Hillary Clinton and toward Trump is a fact, and collusion between Trump and the Russian government is just as obvious.
“The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of ‘Trump Incorporated’ attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.”
Meanwhile, the president congratulated his own decision on Twitter Thursday morning, quoting from a book about sabotage to the Trump campaign:
“John Brennan is a stain on the Country, we deserve better than this.” Former Secret Service Agent and author of new book, “Spygate, the Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump,” Dan Bongino. Thank you Dan, and good luck with the book!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
While Brennan’s security clearance is the first to go, it probably won’t be the last. Sanders listed nine other former officials whose clearances are now under review. All nine of them are political opponents of Trump.
Brennan’s overall sentiment in the op-ed is the need for the truth about what happened in the 2016 election between the Trump team and the Russian government to be revealed.
“Now more than ever, it is critically important that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team of investigators be allowed to complete their work without interference — from Mr. Trump or anyone else — so that all Americans can get the answers they so rightly deserve.”