Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
When the White House announced that it has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan — and is considering doing so for a list of former officials who have been critical of President Donald Trump — press secretary Sarah Sanders struggled to give a clear and decisive reason for the unprecedented move.
But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump himself made it clear why he is targeting these people: It’s all about the Russia investigation.
“I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Trump told the paper “And these people led it!”
He continued: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”
Of course, if there were any actual wrongdoing in the execution of the Russia investigation, the government could take serious legal action against those people. So far, there’s no evidence that anyone acted improperly in conducting the probe, so Trump is resorting to revoking and threatening to revoke security clearance as the only way he can lash out.
On Twitter Wednesday night, Trump quoted his friend and Fox News host Sean Hannity: “I’d strip the whole bunch of them. They’re all corrupt. They’ve all abused their power. They’ve all betrayed the American people with a political agenda. They tried to steal and influence an election in the United States.”
But again, there’s little reason to believe these claims are true. The intelligence community, in fact, clearly hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances during the 2016 campaign while it kept the ongoing counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s associates under wraps.
Rather, it looks like Trump is trying to go after the people who tried to uncover Russia’s work to interfere with the 2016 election and any potential conspiracy to work in concert with the Trump campaign. This is all a part of his continuing effort to undermine the probe.
To say the least, these do not seem like the actions of someone who expects the investigation to exonerate him.
Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.