Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report

Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report
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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House deputy chief of staff Bill Shine have reportedly discussed when would be the best time for President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE to revoke additional security clearances. 

The Washington Post reported Friday that Sanders and Shine are discussing the matter in an attempt to have Trump's revocations serve as a distraction during unfavorable news cycles. Sources told the Post that Trump wants to sign "most, if not all" of the planned revocations.

The report comes just days after the White House announced that 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, an outspoken critic of the president, had his security clearance revoked. 

The revocation of Brennan's clearance came amid a flurry of damaging claims stemming from former White House aide Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanEx-Trump campaign staffer files claim to invalidate all NDAs for campaign workers Ex-White House aide Cliff Sims sues Trump NYT: White House says Trump's tan is the result of ‘good genes’ MORE's new tell-all memoir of her time in the White House, "Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House.” 

In her book, Manigault Newman claims that the president used the "N-word" and that she was offered $15,000 a month to work on the president's campaign shortly after she was fired by chief of staff John Kelly. Throughout the week, the former aide has leaked audio recordings and spoken on a number of unsubstantiated claims surrounding her time in the White House, prompting backlash from Trump and his aides.

The White House and Trump have sought to discredit Manigault Newman and her book.

The administration has drafted more notices to revoke the security clearances of current and former officials critical of Trump

In addition to revoking Brennan's clearance, Sanders said Wednesday that the Trump administration was reviewing access to classified information for several former intelligence officials, including former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former FBI directors Michael Hayden and James Comey, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe and former FBI staffers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

Trump has also said that he is ready to revoke the security clearance of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

“I think Bruce Ohr is a disgrace. I suspect I'll be taking it away very quickly," the president told reporters outside the White House. “For him to be in the Justice Department and doing what he did, that is a disgrace.”

Many have seized on these developments as evidence that Trump is targeting individuals who are critical of him.

Trump later acknowledged to The Wall Street Journal that he drew a direct connection between special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible ties between his campaign and Russia, and his decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.