- Press secretary Sarah Sanders read a statement from the president removing the security clearances of the former CIA chief
- Brennan is a longtime agent who ran the agency under President Obama and during the Osama bin Laden raid
- He served under Republican and Democratic presidents and has become a frequent Trump critic on Twitter
- Sanders read a list of figures whose clearances are under review
- They include: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr
- Brennan tweeted that Trump’s summit with Vladimir Putin was ‘treasonous’
- Ohr is a current high level Justice Department official
President Donald Trump is stripping former CIA chief John Brennan of his security clearance, in an extraordinary slap at one of his foremost public critics.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the stunning move from the White House podium on Wednesday, as the building was engulfed in controversy over the new tell-all book penned by former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.
She pushed back at repeated questioning about why each of the officials has been a prominent Trump critic or otherwise features in the Russia probe.
Among the offenses the statement cited were that Brennan ‘leveraged his status’ and made ‘unfounded and outrageous allegations.’ She cited ‘wild outbursts on the Internet and television’ and ‘increasingly frenzied commentary’ – turning the tables on a critic just a day after the president called Omarosa a ‘dog’ on Twitter.
She also said a list of officials had their clearances ‘under review.’ Among them are fired former FBI director James Comey, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, and current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.
All are prominent Trump critics, and each has played a role in the Russia probe Trump has termed a ‘witch hunt.’
The conversation-changing move came a day after Sanders refused to guarantee from the White podium that Trump would not be found on video using the ‘n word’ an unproven claim from Omarosa’s new book.
It also came just hours after Sanders had to make an extraordinary apology after listing African American unemployment figures that were off by nearly 3 million. Her online apology was issued on Twitter, and she was not asked to explain or take account for it at the briefing.