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Politics

Trump administration reviews security clearances for 9 more people

Aug. 15: U.S. President Donald Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday, accusing Brennan of using his access to classified information in order to "sow division and chaos" about the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday acted on a threat and revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, citing a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information.

Brennan, who served in the Obama administration, had retained his security clearance, as is custom, but had also become an increasingly sharp critic of Trump’s.

Trump says he is reviewing security clearances for nine other individuals: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr. Some have been publicly critical of the president, while others are linked to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Coverage of John Brennan on Globalnews.ca:

Trump calls the investigation a “witch hunt.”

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A look at the 10 individuals:

John Brennan

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force.
Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

In a written statement, Trump cited “erratic conduct and behavior” by President Barack Obama’s CIA director as justification for revoking Brennan’s security clearance. Trump also accused Brennan of “lying” and “wild outbursts.” At a news conference last month in Finland, Trump stood alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and openly questioned U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Moscow tried to influence the 2016 election in his favor. Trump also seemed to accept Putin’s denials of Russian involvement.

Afterward, Brennan criticized Trump’s performance in Finland as “nothing short of treasonous” and accused him of being “wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

James Clapper

This May 8, 2017 file photo shows former National Intelligence Director James Clapper testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington.
This May 8, 2017 file photo shows former National Intelligence Director James Clapper testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File

Clapper served Obama as director of national intelligence and has held key positions in the U.S. intelligence community. He has been critical of Trump and told CNN on Wednesday that he has no plans to stop speaking out when he’s asked for his views on the Trump administration.

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“If they’re saying that the only way I can speak is to be in an adulation mode of this president, I’m sorry. I don’t think I can sign up to that,” Clapper said.

James Comey

In this June 8, 2017 photo, former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this June 8, 2017 photo, former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Trump fired Comey from his post as FBI director in May 2017 over the bureau’s Russia investigation. Comey had also announced in July 2016 that the FBI would not recommend charges against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her email practices as Obama’s secretary of state. Trump believes the investigation was handled unfairly because of what he alleges is political bias against him at the FBI. Comey does not have a security clearance; Trump said Comey may not be able to have it reinstated.

Following the Trump-Putin summit in July, Comey tweeted, “This was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country.”

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Michael Hayden

In this Jan. 15, 2009 file photo, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden participates in a news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
In this Jan. 15, 2009 file photo, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden participates in a news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Luis M. Alvarez

The veteran U.S. intelligence official is a former director of the National Security Agency, principal deputy director of national intelligence and a past CIA director. He’s also been critical of the president. Hayden said last month when the White House first issued the security clearance threat that losing it wouldn’t affect what he says or writes.

He published a book this year called “The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies.”

Sally Yates

In this June 28, 2016 file photo, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington
In this June 28, 2016 file photo, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington AP Photo/J. David Ake

Trump fired Yates early in 2017 after she refused to enforce the new president’s ban on travel to the U.S. by residents of several mostly Muslim countries. Yates served in the Obama administration and had agreed to stay in the job under Trump. She also had informed the White House that Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, was potentially compromised because of his contacts with Russian officials. Trump allowed Flynn to keep his security clearance after Yates’ disclosure but later fired Flynn, citing misstatements he said Flynn made to Vice President Mike Pence.

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Referring to Trump’s summit with Putin, Yates tweeted, “Our President today not only chose a tyrant over his own Intel community, he chose Russia’s interests over the country he is sworn to protect.” Last December she tweeted, “The FBI is in “tatters”? No. The only thing in tatters is the President’s respect for the rule of law.”

Susan Rice

National Security Adviser Susan Rice speaks at the Brookings Institution to outline President Barack Obama’s foreign policy priorities, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in Washington.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice speaks at the Brookings Institution to outline President Barack Obama’s foreign policy priorities, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rice was national security adviser during Obama’s second term and has criticized Trump policies. She wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in July, saying the U.S. had “so much to lose and so little to gain” from the Trump-Putin summit — “given this very atypical US President,” she added in a tweet.

Andrew McCabe

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appears before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on ‘World Wide Threats’, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appears before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on ‘World Wide Threats’, on Capitol Hill in Washington. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

McCabe is a former FBI deputy director who led the investigation into Clinton’s email practices. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe this year after FBI disciplinary officials and the Justice Department concluded he hadn’t been candid during an inspector general investigation. Trump has alleged bias in the email investigation because McCabe’s wife, Jill, ran as a Democrat for the Virginia state Senate in 2015 and accepted a campaign contribution from a longtime Clinton ally. But McCabe didn’t become involved in the Clinton probe until after his wife’s bid for elected office.

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Peter Strzok

Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok prepares to testify before a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill July 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok prepares to testify before a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill July 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The longtime FBI agent was recently fired from the bureau, his lawyer said this week. Strzok had worked on the Mueller investigation but was removed after anti-Trump text messages that Strzok exchanged with an FBI lawyer became public. Trump has used the text messages to buttress his claims that the FBI is biased against him.

Lisa Page

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arrives to participate in a transcribed interview with staff and members of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 16 July 2018.
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arrives to participate in a transcribed interview with staff and members of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 16 July 2018. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS via AP

Page is the former FBI lawyer who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with Strzok.

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Trump has begun referring to Page as the “lovely Lisa Page” in his tweets about the Russia investigation.

Bruce Ohr

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, right, answers questions during a news conference after the announcement of the formation of the Bakken Organized Crime Strike Force, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at the State Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. Also at the announcement were, from left, Bruce Ohr, with the U.S. Department of Justice, Montana U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter and acting North Dakota U.S. Attorney Chris Myers.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, right, answers questions during a news conference after the announcement of the formation of the Bakken Organized Crime Strike Force, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at the State Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. Also at the announcement were, from left, Bruce Ohr, with the U.S. Department of Justice, Montana U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter and acting North Dakota U.S. Attorney Chris Myers. Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP

The Justice Department official has come under Republican scrutiny for his contacts with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS. The opposition research firm hired former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to compile a dossier of information on Trump and his ties to Russia. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS during the campaign — a fact Trump has tweeted about in recent days to highlight his assertions of political bias as motivation for the Russia investigation.