UPDATE: After The New Yorker published an article claiming that President Donald Trump was, at one point, considering revoking former President Barack Obama’s security clearance, Trump hit back.
“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. Never discussed or thought of!,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
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. Never discussed or thought of!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018
In a previous tweet, Trump acknowledged the hoopla over his decision to pull former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. Trump claimed that one of his own critics, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, agreed with him.
“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 wrote.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018
The New Yorker report said that back in March 2017 — after Trump sparked unfounded speculation that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign — Trump saw Obama administration officials as a threat and urged for the revoking of all their security clearances.
Although Trump denies wanting to yank Obama's security clearance, it isn't far-fetched to think that he would. Trump has been hell-bent on rolling back Obama-era policies and pushing away officials appointed during Obama's presidency in an apparent attempt to erase his predecessor's legacy altogether.
Ultimately, we won't really know if Trump's denial is true or false, unless another one of his friends-turned-foes has a secret tape of him saying otherwise.
Just weeks into his administration, President Donald Trump had accused former president Barack Obama of wiretapping the Trump Tower during the late stages of the presidential election campaign.
In 2017, Trump made these baseless allegations without citing any evidence. Several intelligence agencies and at least one congressional investigation later, Trump's claims were discovered to be utterly false.
However, when Trump accused his predecessor of wiretapping the Trump Tower, some of the White House associates reportedly insisted the president to pull the security clearance of Obama administration officials from the daily intelligence press briefings.
Some officials also reportedly suggested Trump block Obama’s security clearance. In other words, they were insisting Trump abuse his powers. All living former presidents have access to these briefings.
Trump decided not to exclude Obama from the briefings after former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster talked him out of it. According to a report by The New Yorker, McMaster signed a memo extending the clearances of former National Security Council members regardless of their political affiliation at that time.
McMaster resigned from his position last year.
Fast forward a year, and there are reports that Trump recently revoked the security clearance of Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan, who has been a sharp critic of the Trump administration. The POTUS attributed the revocation for what he said was “a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations” about his administration.
12 former intelligence officials claimed Trump’s move was nothing more than an attempt to “stifle free speech.”
According to a report by Axios, the president has become habitual of using his powers without considering legislative or judicial checks. "But if there’s a power he’s been given, you can bet every penny you own that he’s going to use it — and perhaps use it in new ways or with greater frequency than ever before," said a source close to Trump.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque