Top Dem demands info on White House decision to revoke Brennan's clearance

Top Dem demands info on White House decision to revoke Brennan's clearance
© Greg Nash

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOversight Committee reschedules public Cohen testimony for next Wednesday Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Five things to know about Trump confidant Tom Barrack MORE (D-Md.) sent a memo on Thursday to White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE requesting information on President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Trump: I believe Obama would have gone to war with North Korea Intel agencies' threat assessment matters more than tiff with Trump MORE’s security clearance.

“I am writing to request documents relating to the process used by President Donald Trump to revoke the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan — and possibly nine other former officials — after allowing several of his own top White House aides to continue assessing our nation’s most sensitive secrets while under investigation for criminal activity,” wrote Cummings, who is the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the revocation at the White House press briefing Wednesday. She read a statement from the president which stated, “Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the Internet and television — about this administration.”

She also read a list of several other former officials whose security clearance Trump is reviewing.

In his reference to White House aides, Cummings could be referring to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Cummings went on to charge that if Trump revoked Brennan's security status over his public criticism of the president, it would violate the process set in place by executive orders of previous presidents.

“It appears that President Trump has invented an entirely new standard for revoking security clearances,” he wrote.

“The Executive Order does not provide for revoking a security clearance because an individual is a political adversary of the President or for using revocation as a tool for political retribution. The American people expect the security clearance process to be adjudicated by neutral professionals, following the established standards set forth in the Executive Order,” he added.

Cummings claims that the standard indicated by Trump's official statement would disqualify many White House staffers, “indeed, perhaps the President himself” from receiving a clearance. 

Brennan himself blasted the president’s move, calling it an “abuse of power” and "an attempt to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration.”