President Donald Trump is considering stripping a number of former national security officials of their security clearances, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, calling their public comments about the ongoing Russia probe inappropriate.
The list of former officials under consideration includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, according to Sanders.
“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service,” Sanders said during a press briefing.
“The President is exploring these mechanisms to remove security clearance because they’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and their security clearances,” Sanders said. “And making baseless accusations of an improper relationship with Russia is inappropriate.”
Sanders would not say when the President would make this decision; she said only that the White House would provide updates when it had them.
A decision to strip a former official of a security clearance would prove a striking use of presidential power.
“This is kind of a petty way of retribution for speaking out, I guess, against the President,” Clapper said on CNN in the immediate wake of Sanders’ announcement.
By Kevin Liptak, CNN