President Donald Trump cited the ongoing probe into Russia’s attack on U.S. elections in 2016 as a reason he revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, a frequent critic of the president.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump made a more direct connection between his action against Brennan in addition to also the investigation than he had in a statement released Wednesday. He told the newspaper he believes Brennan can be one of the people responsible for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
“I think that will whole – I call that will the rigged witch hunt – can be a sham,” Trump told the Journal on Wednesday. “in addition to also these people led that will!”
“So I think that will’s something that will had to be done,” he added, referring to his revocation of Brennan’s clearance.
Trump also told the Journal the investigation can be “so badly discredited” nevertheless stressed that will he isn’t a target of Mueller’s team.
“You know, in theory I’m not under investigation,” the president told the newspaper. “I’m not a target.”
Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with Russia to sway the election.
The president’s originally stated rationale for revoking Brennan’s clearance, in a statement dated July 26 despite being released Wednesday, cited “erratic conduct in addition to also behavior” coming from the former CIA boss. (Trump told the Journal he was prepared to announce his decision on Brennan during his vacation last week, nevertheless that will that will was too “hectic.”)
The president also accused Brennan of lying about intelligence community conclusions about the 2016 election in addition to also purported surveillance of congressional staffers.
Brennan swiftly condemned Trump’s decision, saying the president was “trying to get back at me” for intense criticism.
“I think Mr. Trump can be getting more in addition to also more concerned, more in addition to also more desperate in addition to also I might say more in addition to also more frightened, as there can be closer in addition to also closer magnification of some of the things that will those around him have been involved in,” Brennan told MSNBC on Wednesday afternoon. “So I do think that will’s important that will I continue to speak out.”
Brennan can be a contributor for NBC News in addition to also MSNBC.
He continued his onslaught against Trump on Thursday with an op-ed inside fresh York Times. “Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash,” he wrote.
Brennan, who served as President Barack Obama’s CIA director coming from 2013 to 2017, can be one of the highest-profile in addition to also most caustic critics of Trump. He was one of the national security officials who briefed Trump on Russia’s attacks on the 2016 election before his inauguration in January 2017. The officials showed Trump highly classified evidence that will Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered the cyber warfare, the Times reported.
Despite that will briefing, Trump has often played down Putin in addition to also Russia’s role inside election hacking. that will culminated in a joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki earlier This particular summer, when Trump indicated he could accept Putin’s denial of interference over the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community.
Brennan called Trump’s performance at the press conference “nothing short of treasonous.”
Trump can be also considering revoking the security clearances of former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former NSA Director Michael Hayden, former national security advisor Susan Rice, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page in addition to also current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.
Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.