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Sanders: Trump considering removing security clearances for Obama-era officials

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday said that President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE is exploring whether to remove the security clearance of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal Online and frighteningly real: 'A Taste of Armageddon' MORE and other top Obama-era intelligence officials. 

Sanders accused Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert Clapper140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack The biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is... Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community MORE, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyShowtime developing limited series about Jan. 6 Capitol riot Wray says FBI not systemically racist John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges MORE and others of “politicizing” and “monetizing” their public service.

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“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances,” Sanders said during the daily press briefing. “Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia, or being influenced by Russia, against the president is extremely inappropriate and the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

Sanders’s comments came after Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRepublicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America Fauci fatigue sets in as top doc sows doubt in vaccine effectiveness Republican legislators target private sector election grants MORE (R-Ky.) suggested on Twitter that Brennan should have his security clearance revoked.

“Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump?” Paul wrote. He said he was meeting with Trump Monday to ask the president to remove Brennan’s security clearance. 

Brennan and other former officials have been publicly critical of the president’s comments about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump sparked bipartisan criticism last week when he cast doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian election interference — a remark he later walked back.

Last week, Brennan described Trump's remarks alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin following their meeting in Helsinki as "nothing short of treasonous" and suggested they exceeded the threshold of impeachment "high crimes & misdemeanors."

Sanders also said Monday that Trump is “looking to take away” security clearances belonging to former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeJohn Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe McCabe defends investigation of Trump before Senate committee: We had 'many reasons' MORE — the FBI official who was fired by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBiden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden administration should resist 'slush-fund' settlements MORE in March before the publication of an inspector general report that criticized his conduct.

Sanders declined to provide a timeline for when the security clearances might be revoked and also pushed back at the suggestion that the president is targeting individuals who had spoken out against him.

“No, I think you are creating your own story there,” Sanders said in response to a reporter's question. “The president doesn’t like the fact that people are politicizing agencies and departments that are specifically meant to not be political.”

Sanders went on to refute the suggestion that Trump is himself politicizing matters of national security by going after his "political enemies."

Trump has repeatedly derided special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's ongoing investigation into Russian interference which is looking into whether there was collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow. The president has repeatedly referred to the probe as a "witch hunt." 

“The president’s not making baseless accusations of contact with a foreign government,” Sanders said.

“When you have the highest level of security clearance, when you’re the person who holds the nation’s deepest, most sacred secrets at your hands, and you go out and you make false accusations against the president of the United States, he thinks that‘s something to be very concerned with and we’re exploring what those options are and what that looks like,” Sanders added.

Updated at 3:23 p.m.