Top Senate Intel Dem: Trump compiling a 'Nixonian enemies list'

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Trump pushes to speed up 5G rollout | Judge hits Roger Stone with full gag order | Google ends forced arbitration | Advertisers leave YouTube after report on pedophile ring Warner questions health care groups on cybersecurity Cohen to testify before Senate Intel on Tuesday MORE (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has accused 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 of compiling a “Nixonian enemies list” by revoking 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 and threatening to do the same for other critics.

“This was in effect almost an enemies list, a Nixonian enemies list,” Warner told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. “Revoking Brennan, threatening to revoke a series of others, trying to limit these Americans' First Amendment rights — it’s unprecedented.”


Trump announced in a statement read by his top spokeswoman at a press briefing earlier in the day that he would terminate Brennan’s security clearance because of what he called his “lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary.”

The president announced he may also revoke clearances for other intelligence and law enforcement officials who served under former President Obama, including former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down Mueller report may be 'anti-climactic,' says ex-intelligence director Intelligence chiefs should be commended, despite Trump's attacks on them MORE, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump FBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it MORE, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesFrom border to Mueller, Barr faces challenges as attorney general Hillicon Valley: House Intel panel will release Russia interviews | T-Mobile, Sprint step up merger push | DHS cyber office hosting webinars on China | Nest warns customers to shore up password security House Intel panel votes to release Russia interview transcripts to Mueller MORE and former national security adviser Susan Rice.

“This is really bothersome. This is an attempt by this White House to shut up critics,” Warner argued Wednesday.

He also warned that Trump may try to take this “broad-brush approach” to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, who is investigating the president and his campaign for possible obstruction of justice and collusion with Russian agents during the 2016 election.

The Democrat called it a “warning shot across the bow of intelligence professionals.”

Warner is working with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrTrump says ‘witch hunt’ must end as reports say Mueller preparing to file report Cohen to testify before Senate Intel on Tuesday Harris on election security: 'Russia can't hack a piece of paper' MORE (R-N.C.) on a parallel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

He suggested that Trump targeted Brennan this week to distract attention from the ongoing trial of his former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortMueller won't deliver report to Justice Dept. next week New York preps state charges for Manafort in case of a Trump pardon: report Defending the First Amendment, even for Roger Stone MORE and allegations 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 that Trump used a racial slur.

“It’s curious that this list didn’t include people like General Flynn,” Warner noted, referring to former national security adviser Michael Flynn whom Trump fired last year after Flynn pleaded guilty about lying to the FBI about a conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate plots to avoid fall shutdown brawl Inviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge MORE (Texas), a fellow member of the Intelligence Committee, however, defended Trump’s decision Wednesday to revoke Brennan's clearance.

‪“It’s the president’s prerogative. I mean obviously the White House is the final arbiter of what sort of intelligence people get to see and unless there’s a national security reason for that to continue I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t be revoked,” Cornyn said.

“There’s no right of a private citizen to get classified information,” he added.

The president said in his statement earlier Wednesday that he has a “unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation’s classified information.”

But Warner noted that former senior intelligence officials have historically kept their security clearances so they can continue to provide guidance and expertise to current administrations.

“Oftentimes people draw upon — current intelligence officials, administration officials — draw upon that expertise and knowledge,” he said. “You want to have those assets because intelligence professionals have been consistently used after they retire from service.”

Jordain Carney contributed