White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday that President Donald Trump is considering yanking the security clearances of several top officials from the Obama administration.
She announced this when a reporter asked if the Trump administration was looking to take away the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan after Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) accused him of monetizing his security clearance.
Sanders responded that Trump is looking at his and several other Obama officials' security clearances, including former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last year, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
"Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan's security clearance, he's also looking into the clearances of Comey, Clapper, [Michael] Hayden, Rice, and [Andrew] McCabe," she said.
Hayden, after being nominated by President George W. Bush, served as CIA Director from 2006 to 2009, and McCabe served as Deputy FBI Director from 2016 to 2018.
She said the president is exploring mechanisms to remove their clearances because they've "politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances, making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia."
"The fact that people with security clearances are making baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence," she said.
Later in the briefing, a reporter asked if it was presidential for the president to remove clearances for former public servants for saying things he doesn't like.
Sanders rejected that view, saying it is inappropriate for them to be making "baseless accusations" of Trump having an improper relationship with Russia.
"The president doesn't like the fact that people are politicizing agencies and departments that are specifically meant to not be political," she said.
"When you're the person that holds the nation's deepest, most sacred secrets at your hands and you make false accusations against the President of the United States, he thinks that is something to be very concerned with, and we're exploring what those options are and what that looks like," she added.