Advertisement

Trump says he ‘never discussed’ revoking Obama’s access to intelligence briefings

Click to play video: 'Trump threatens to revoke more security clearances' Trump threatens to revoke more security clearances
WATCH ABOVE: U.S. President Donald Trump is suggesting he may revoke the security clearance of other former U.S. intelligence officials, claiming they're part of what he calls a "witch hunt" investigation into his administration – Aug 17, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump is denying a report that his White House advisers recommended withholding former president Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings.

According to a report in the New Yorker, some of Trump’s advisers suggested he cut off Obama’s access to intelligence briefings at some point last year after Trump claimed that Obama had tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the election.

WATCH BELOW: White House revokes former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance

Click to play video: 'White House revokes former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance' White House revokes former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance
White House revokes former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance – Aug 15, 2018

The alleged recommendations came sometime after Trump’s Twitter tirade on March 4, 2017, in which he claimed that Obama had his “wires tapped” at Trump Tower before the 2016 presidential election. “Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump wrote.

Story continues below advertisement

Trump has not provided any evidence to support his claims.

Trump’s claims prompted some of his advisers to recommend revoking security clearance for former Obama-era officials, including Obama himself, according to the New Yorker. It says Trump ultimately “decided not to exclude Obama” at the urging of H.R. McMaster, who was national security adviser at the time.

McMaster purportedly stressed the importance of keeping former presidents in the loop because they frequently meet with foreign leaders.

Trump dismissed the report as “fake” on Tuesday morning, suggesting that the 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!”

The anecdote about Obama’s intelligence briefing was part of a larger story in the New Yorker about John Brennan, the former Obama-era CIA director who was stripped of his security clearance last week after criticizing Trump.

“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets,” Trump said at the time.

Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, celebrated the decision last week. He accused Brennan of “making partisan political use” of his clearance.

Story continues below advertisement

Several former intelligence officials have condemned the decision.

READ MORE: Former U.S. security leaders blast Trump for rescinding ex-CIA director’s security clearance

Former presidents and top intelligence officials typically retain their security clearances after leaving their jobs with the government. That clearance allows them to read intelligence briefings and provide advice to their successors.

READ MORE: Why Trump revoking Brennan’s security clearance ‘only hurts the U.S.’

“Without having clearance, nobody can talk,” John V. Berry, a Washington-based lawyer who specializes in security clearance cases, told Global News last week.

Berry says Trump likely does have the power to revoke security clearance from whomever he chooses, including Obama.

WATCH BELOW: Brennan discusses legal action to contest the loss of his security clearance

Click to play video: 'Brennan says he will consider legal action after White House revokes security clearance' Brennan says he will consider legal action after White House revokes security clearance
Brennan says he will consider legal action after White House revokes security clearance – Aug 19, 2018

However, no president before Trump has ever exercised that power against his political opponents, Berry said.

Story continues below advertisement

The Trump administration says it’s reviewing security clearances for nine other individuals linked to the Obama administration, including former FBI director James Comey, former director of national intelligence James Clapper and Peter Strzok, the former deputy assistant FBI director who handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

READ MORE: Trump administration reviews security clearances for 9 more people

Brennan has said he is considering legal action to avoid losing his security clearance.

Sponsored content