President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan due to resentment over personal criticism and his role in the Russia investigation was an egregious violation of his office’s power. But as it turns out, Trump has considered an even more astounding measure: go after former President Barack Obama himself.
This revelation comes from a report in the New Yorker that was published on Monday:
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 [Former National Security Adviser H.R.] McMaster.
Trump has long sought to muddy the waters of the Russia investigation by alleging, with no evidence whatsoever, that Obama ordered the commission of serious crimes in furtherance of that investigation, including secretly wiretapping his office in Trump Tower.
But the idea that Trump would have gone so far as to revoke the security clearance of a former president for the sake of a personal vendetta is far more disturbing — even more so given the fact that the high-ranking security adviser who allegedly talked him out of doing so is no longer at the White House.
A recent Axios report revealed that Trump has become increasingly enamored with specific presidential powers that have little to no legislative or judicial check, including executive orders and pardons. Ever since he was allegedly urged to revoke Brennan’s clearance by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), he has come to consider revocation of security clearances a part of this category.