'If Trump Wants to Do It, He'll Just Do It': White House Aides Reportedly Fear the President Is 'Eager' to Go After More of His Critics
According to a new report in The Washington Post, President Donald Trump is not satisfied with stripping former CIA director John Brennan of his security clearance. He wants to terminate more clearances:
President Trump has told advisers that he is eager to strip more security clearances as part of an escalating attack against people who have criticized him or played a role in the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, two White House officials said.
If true, this impulse from Trump would lend more credence to the idea that stripping Brennan of clearance was a deliberate act of political targeting for Brennan's role in encouraging the investigation of Russia — which Trump himself has openly admitted in conversation with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to voicing support for the Russia investigation, Brennan has repeatedly criticized Trump directly, most recently for calling Omarosa Manigault Newman a "dog."
Rudy Giuliani has insisted that Trump's decision to revoke security clearances from political enemies is not a violation of their First Amendment rights, because "The basis for having it is the president is going to call on you for advice — if that doesn't exist, there's no reason for you to have a clearance."
But even White House aides admit that Trump is simply governing by his own whims at this point. "The process is essentially meaningless," said one aide quoted in the Post. "If Trump wants to do it, he'll do it."
Republicans have so far expressed no criticism of Trump for revoking Brennan's security clearance. In fact, some have openly praised the decision, with Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) calling Brennan a "butthead," and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) saying that it was "disgraceful" of Brennan to criticize Trump in the first place.