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New outcry over Trump’s revocation of John Brennan’s security clearance

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More than 175 former State Department and Pentagon officials added their names to a statement signed by national security officials criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the security clearance of former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan.

New signatories to the statement, which was initially issued last week by 15 former directors and deputy chiefs of the CIA and Office of Director of National Intelligence, include former political appointees and career civil servants. They worked under both Democratic and Republican presidents.

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Among the most prominent individuals to sign a new version of the statement released on Monday by senior officials from the George W. Bush and Obama administrations are former State Department and National Security Counsel lawyer John Bellinger, former Deputy Secretaries of State Anthony Blinken and William Burns, former Undersecretaries of State Nicholas Burns, Wendy Sherman and Thomas Pickering.

Also, former National Security Agency general counsel Robert Deitz, former National Counterterrorism Center directors Michael Leiter and Nick Rasmussen, former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and former NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis.

While those signing may not agree with all of Brennan’s public attacks on Trump, the statement reads, they believe that “the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied” before expert former officials are allowed to voice their views.

Trump said last week he was considering withdrawing clearances for other former high-ranking officials as well as Bruce Ohr, a current Justice Department official in the criminal division.

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Brennan, who has publicly characterized Trump’s comments at a recent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “treasonous,” has said he might sue the Trump administration over the revocation of his clearance.

“I am going to do whatever I can to try to prevent these abuses in the future, and if it means going to court, I will do that,” he said on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” television program.

On Monday Trump blasted the new individuals who signed and said that while he hopes Brennan files a lawsuit, he doubted that would happen. He also questioned whether U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from his department’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, would fire Ohr.

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Russia has denied any election interference, and Trump has said there was no collusion with his campaign team.

“Everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance, it’s worth great prestige and big dollars, even board seats, and that is why certain people are coming forward to protect Brennan,” Trump said in a series of posts on Twitter.

Retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEALs operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, last week responded to Trump’s move by praising Brennan and asking the president to revoke his security clearance as well.

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Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe


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2020 Election

Warren narrowly beats Sanders to take over second place for first time in new poll of 17,000 Democratic voters

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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has narrowly taken second place in a new, just-released Politico/Morning Consult nation-wide poll of more than 17,000 registered voters. Warren beat Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the first time in this specific poll. Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains his first place position.

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Republicans keep dragging trolls, wackos and conspiracy theorists before hearings — are the Democrats finally fed up?

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Republicans in Congress returned to Capitol Hill following their August recess last week and immediately set out to make a mockery of their constitutional obligation — inviting discredited witnesses to provide expert testimony in a manner that only served to derail, dismiss and diminish otherwise serious subject manners.

Former Turning Point USA communications director Candace Owens was again invited by Republicans to appear before a House Joint Oversight Subcommittee on combating white supremacy. Owens, who previously argued that the 2018 mail bombings targeting Democrats actually resulted from a conspiracy plot orchestrated by liberals, claims the NRA was founded as a civil rights organization (it was actually started by Civil War veterans to improve soldiers' marksmanship), and has said, "Black Americans are doing worse off economically today than we were doing in the 1950s under Jim Crow,” to downplay the threat of white supremacy.

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DC Report

Now Betsy DeVos is telling colleges what to teach

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I’m delighted to learn that everything must be fine with America’s public schools, with student loans and debts, with the growth of community colleges, with affirmative action in our school communities, with a healthy diversity, school assaults and shootings, fair pay, teacher satisfaction and childcare issues.

I know this because otherwise, I would have no explanation for why Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would have time to interfere with the content of college abroad classes.

Last week, the Education Department ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake their Middle East studies program run jointly by the two schools because it isn’t offering a positive-enough image of Judaism and Christianity in that part of the world.

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