James Clapper scolded former CIA Director John Brennan on CNN in an effort to hang on to his security clearance, President Donald Trump crowed on Twitter this morning, confirming suggestions that POTUS is pulling security clearances to intimidate and silence current and former government officials.
Trump insisted, however, he never discussed pulling President Obama’s access to briefings, as was reported in The New Yorker.
“Fake News, of which there is soooo much (this time the very tired New Yorker) falsely reported that I was going to take the extraordinary step of denying Intelligence Briefings to President Obama,” Trump tweeted, “Never discussed or thought of!”
More accurately, what the magazine reported is that, “As Trump stepped up his public and private attacks on Obama, some of the new President’s advisers thought that he should take the extraordinary step of denying Obama himself access to intelligence briefings that were made available to all of his living predecessors.”
The New Yorker also reported that Trump decided against that suggestion, after being told about “the importance of keeping former Presidents, who frequently met with foreign leaders, informed.”
Trump seemed tickled by former CIA chief Clapper’s State of the Union appearance in which he was asked if former CIA chief Brennan’s remark about Trump has become an “issue” and responded, “I think it is.” Clapper described Brennan as “subtle like a freight train. … He’s going to say what is on his mind.”
“John and his rhetoric have become, I think, an issue in and of itself,” Clapper said.
Trump took a Twitter victory lap: “Even James Clapper has admonished John Brennan for having gone totally off the rails, Maybe Clapper is being nice to me so he doesn’t lose his Security Clearance for lying to Congress.”
Trump last week yanked the security clearance of Brennan and unveiled his Enemies List of other former and current officials whose clearance he is likely to pull, including Clapper.
“The common denominator among all of us that have been speaking up, though, is genuine concern about the jeopardy or threats to our institutions and values,” Clapper said of the list during his CNN appearance.
Trump then turned his Twitter attention to West Virginia, where he is scheduled today to headline a “Big Rally” in support of Patrick Morrisey’s race for U.S. Senate.
“I have done so much for West Virginia, against all odds,” Trump preened, adding “having Patrick, a real fighter, by my side would make things so much easier. See you later. CLEAN COAL!!!!”