Another day, another fake news report. At least, that’s what US President Donald Trump thinks as he slammed the New York Times for reporting that he considered revoking ex-President Barack Obama’s security clearance.
On Monday, The New Yorker cited unnamed sources and claimed that White House officials had discussed revoking Obama’s security clearance last year. The publication reported allegations that national security adviser H.R. McMaster ultimately shut down the idea and so, “Trump decided not to exclude Obama, at the urging of McMaster.”
The New Yorker published that Trump supporters saw members of the Obama administration as “powerful enemies” and that President Trump was advised to cut Obama’s access to intelligence briefings that all living former Presidents are allowed access to:
“At the time, some of Trump’s most fervent supporters in the White House saw former Obama Administration officials as powerful enemies who threatened the new President’s rule, and they agitated for punishing them by revoking their security clearances. The idea was rebuffed by the national-security adviser at the time, H. R. McMaster, who signed a memo extending the clearances of his predecessors at the N.S.C., Republicans and Democrats alike.
“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.
“Trump was told about the importance of keeping former Presidents, who frequently met with foreign leaders, informed. In the end, Trump decided not to exclude Obama, at the urging of McMaster.”
President Trump promptly repudiated the report on Twitter and said that such an act was “never discussed or thought of!”:
“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!”
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
The New Yorker’s allegations come after President Trump revoked ex-Obama CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance after Brennan joined MSNBC as an analyst and began what appears to be a campaign of accusing the Trump administration of collusion with other forces.
The White House cited Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behavior” and accused him of “leveraging” his clearance to make false claims against the Trump administration as it announced that his security clearance has been revoked.
In response, Brennan took to The New York Times and wrote an op-ed in which he called President Trump’s denial of collusion accusations as “hogwash.” He wrote:
“Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash. The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of ‘Trump Incorporated’ attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.”
Republican Senator Richard Burr, who also serves as the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, rebutted Brennan’s collusion allegations in a statement to the press and pointed out that there are some problems with the believability of his claims:
“Director Brennan’s recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power. If Director Brennan’s statement is based on intelligence he received while still leading the CIA, why didn’t he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in 2017?
“If his statement is based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, it constitutes an intelligence breach. If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the Special Counsel, not The New York Times.”