Correspondents' Association asks for more White House press briefings
Jake Tapper: Trump tying Brennan clearance to Russia probe is ‘connecting the dots’ for Mueller
"It's almost as if the president is connecting the dots for Robert Mueller," Tapper said on Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he decided to pull the clearances of Brennan and consider those of other Obama-era intelligence officials who probed Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham. And these people led it!" Trump told the newspaper hours after it was announced Brennan's clearance was being revoked.
"So I think it's something that had to be done," he added.
Tapper asked Thursday if Trump's admission was opening "yet another door" for Mueller's investigation.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a statement from the president earlier this week, saying Brennan lost his security clearance because he posed a security threat.
"Mr. Brennan's lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation's most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos," the statement read.
She then denied the move was meant to silence Brennan, who is an outspoken Trump critic.
"So despite the best efforts of the White House staff to act as if this decision was about protecting classified information, President Trump made it clear it was actually about punishing one of his fiercest critics," Tapper said.
"It's just the latest example of President Trump openly contradicting an explanation concocted, frankly, and then offered by his advisers," the anchor continued.
For another example, Tapper pointed to when Trump told NBC's Lester Holt that he fired former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia probe after his advisers claimed it was over the mishandling of the Clinton email server investigation.
Brennan also blasted Trump's move as a "abuse of power" meant to silence him.
"I do believe that Mr. Trump decided to take this action, as he's done with others, to try to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration," Brennan said during an interview on MSNBC Thursday.