Politics & Government

Rand Paul asks Trump to revoke ex-CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance

In a television interview last Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., defended President Donald Trump and his Helsinki news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a television interview last Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., defended President Donald Trump and his Helsinki news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. AP

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he met with President Donald Trump Monday afternoon and asked him to revoke the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, who has been a harsh critic of Trump on Russia and other issues.

Brennan, who served under President Barack Obama, last week used the word “treasonous” to describe Trump’s performance at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, saying it showed he was “wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

In a pair of tweets earlier Monday, Paul suggested that Brennan was trying to profit off his security clearance by “divulging secrets to the mainstream media” that undermine Trump, and he said his security clearance should be revoked.

Former CIA directors typically hold on to their clearance for several years after leaving office in part so that they can share insights with current directors.

A spokesman for Brennan declined a request for comment.

Paul, who once had a frosty relationship with Trump, has emerged as one of his fiercest defenders on Russia, calling those who questioned Trump’s efforts to build a relationship with Putin “unhinged” and “crazy.”

Following last week’s summit with Putin, Trump was widely criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for appearing too cozy with the Russian leader and failing to more aggressively confront him on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Brennan, who was involved in the assessments of Russian interference, now serves as a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and often makes critical comments about Trump.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Monday afternoon that the president is “exploring the mechanisms” to strip clearance from Brennan, along with former FBI director Jim Comey, former national intelligence director James Clapper and others.

Sanders is accusing the officials of having “politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances” as well as “making baseless accusations” against the president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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