Clapper: 'Very petty' that Trump is considering revoking security clearances

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperClapper: 'Americans should be very concerned' about lack of notes from Trump-Putin meetings Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation Mueller's findings don't matter MORE on Monday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I will deliver State of the Union 'when the shutdown is over' Former NYPD commander claims Trump got special treatment for gun licenses Colbert starts petition for Cardi B to give State of the Union rebuttal MORE for considering a revocation of his and other former intelligence officials' security clearances, calling it a "petty thing to do."

"The security clearance has nothing to do with how I, or any of us, feel about the president," Clapper said on CNN, where he is a contributor, moments after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump is considering taking away security clearances from him and other Obama administration officials who have been vocal critics of Trump since he took office.

"I don’t get the briefings, I don’t have access to any classified information," Clapper said, calling the continuing clearance a "courtesy" for former intelligence officials.


"I don’t know what to say," he added. "I think this is just a very, very petty — a petty thing to do. And that’s about all I’ll say about it."

Clapper added that, typically, an official would go through a formal process in which their security clearance would be revoked or suspended because of an allegation of misuse or wrongdoing. He noted that the president does have the authority to unilaterally revoke clearances.

"If he chooses to do it for political reasons, well, that’s — I think that’s a terrible precedent and I think that’s a very sad commentary," Clapper said. "And it’s an abuse of the system."

During Monday's press briefing, Sanders said Trump is exploring removing the security clearance of Clapper, former CIA directors John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanHow the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt … until agents bit Brennan calls on Congress to end shutdown before negotiating border security: Not 'subservient' to the president Washington’s reflexive opposition to Trump on Syria MORE and Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWho allowed FISA surveillance abuse? New attorney general must find out Pavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media How the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt … until agents bit MORE.

She also named former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeHow the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt … until agents bit Barr’s first task as AG: Look at former FBI leaders’ conduct FISA shocker: DOJ official warned Steele dossier was connected to Clinton, might be biased MORE, whose clearance was revoked when he was dismissed from the agency earlier this year.

All of the individuals named by Sanders served in the Obama administration, though Hayden also served in the George W. Bush administration and Comey served briefly in the Trump administration.

Sanders accused the former officials of “politicizing” and “monetizing” their public service.

"Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia, or being influenced by Russia, against the president is extremely inappropriate," she said. "And the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence."

Her comments followed a tweet from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Republicans have the fix to end these shutdowns permanently Sinkhole opens up a block away from White House Civil rights group marks MLK Day with call for 'Trump card' national ID MORE (R-Ky.) that suggested Brennan should have his security clearance revoked.

Sanders did not provide a timetable for when the clearances might be revoked. She said she’s “not aware” of any plans to look at clearances of former President Obama or former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenVideo surfaces of Beto O'Rourke playing the Ramones' 'Blitzkrieg Bop' in a mask and onesie Dem 2020 hopeful Buttigieg touts his experience level, compares it to Trump's Biden made paid speech for GOP-linked group ahead of midterm elections: report MORE.