Donald Trump says Bruce Ohr next to lose security clearance

John Brennan

John Brennan

U.S. President Donald Trump says he is considering moving "very quickly" to revoke the security clearance of a Justice Department official who had connections with a firm that produced a controversial dossier on Trump's ties to Russian Federation.

On Friday, Trump said he would likely remove the security clearance of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, who has been targeted by supporters of the president, in part because his wife worked for a company that produced a dossier alleging Russian Federation had incriminating evidence against Trump.

Brennan said he believes Trump stripped his security clearance for political reasons and wants to "silence others who might dare to challenge him".

The counter-punch comes after days of criticism from former US national security officials and military leaders who've cast Trump's cancellation of Brennan's clearance - an apparent retaliation for his criticism of the president - as a unsafe precedent.

"If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken", McRaven said.

The statement also claimed that Brennan had been "leveraging" his clearance to make "wild outbursts" and claims against the Trump administration in the media.

Brennan has repeatedly clashed with Trump on Twitter and on television, calling Trump's failure to denounce Russian interference in USA elections at a recent summit with Vladimir Putin "nothing short of treasonous".

"Such a public clarion call certainly makes one wonder what Mr. Trump privately encouraged his advisers to do - and what they actually did - to win the election", Brennan said.

His fury with Ohr reached a new level on Friday when he told reporters, "I think Bruce Ohr is a disgrace".

Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, announced Friday on Twitter that he planned to introduce an amendment "to block the president from punishing and intimidating his critics by arbitrarily revoking security clearances".

"I didn't mean that he committed treason, but it was a term that I used, 'nothing short of treasonous, '" Brennan said in the interview.

Trump repeatedly has called the probe a "witch hunt" and sought to discredit those involved in it.

Trump has ordered a review for nine others who have security clearances.

"We feel compelled to respond in the wake of the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House", reads the letter from the officials, who served both Democratic and Republican presidents.

Following the president's summit last month with Russia's Vladimir Putin, Mr Brennan - who headed the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama - described Mr Trump's behaviour as "nothing short of treasonous".

Of those on the list, only Ohr is still employed in government service, but maintaining a security clearance is useful for finding documents if any of them are called to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller investigation. But the decision to take that step was made this week to divert attention from nonstop coverage of a critical book released by fired Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Putin told reporters in Helsinki, while standing next to Trump, that he had wanted the former NY businessman to win the White House.

"I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency", McRaven wrote.

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