AP: Former U.S. security officials issued scathing rebukes to President Donald Trump on Thursday, admonishing him for yanking a top former spy chief’s security clearance in what they cast as an act of political vengeance. Trump said he’d had to do “something” about the “rigged” federal probe of Russian election interference.
Trump’s admission that he acted out of frustration about the Russia probe underscored his willingness to use his executive power to fight back against an investigation he sees as a threat to his presidency. Legal experts said the dispute may add to the evidence being reviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
In an opinion piece in The New York Times, former CIA Director John Brennan said Trump’s decision, announced Wednesday, to deny him access to classified information was a desperate attempt to end Mueller’s investigation. Brennan, who served under President Barack Obama and has become a vocal Trump critic, called Trump’s claims that he did not collude with Russia “hogwash.”
The only question remaining is whether the collusion amounts to a “constituted criminally liable conspiracy,” Brennan wrote.
On the same vein, The New York Times writes that President Trump’s decision to strip the security clearance of John Brennan, a former director of the C.I.A., qualifies as one of the least surprising moves from the White House this year.
Mr. Brennan has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, and the president’s skin is as thin as his regard for democratic norms. And despite the laughable rationalizations now being peddled by administration apologists, Mr. Brennan’s spanking is just the latest display of what has become standard operating procedure for this president: using the official levers of government to punish critics and to encourage other detractors to sit down and shut up.