Politics

Trump Goes Scorched-Earth on John Brennan After Removing Security Clearance: ‘I Never Respected Him’

'It's a rigged witch hunt. I've said it for a long time,' declares the president about the continued and distracting claims of collusion

Speaking outside the White House, President Donald Trump made mincemeat of former CIA director John Brennan on Friday morning while unequivocally defending the decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance, saying that he’s had a “tremendous response” to the decision.

“I know I’ve gotten tremendous response from having done that because security clearances are very important to me,” Trump emphasized in answering a reporter’s question on the topic.

“Very, very important. And I’ve had a tremendous response for having done that.”

The president also vigorously denied allegations that he is trying to silence his critics by taking away their security clearances.

“Sir, what do you say to those who say you’re trying to silence your critics by taking away the clearances?” a reporter asked.

“There’s no silence. If anything, I’m giving them a bigger voice,” the president answered.

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“Many people don’t even know who he [Brennan] is, and now he has a bigger voice. And that’s OK with me, because I like taking on voices like that. I’ve never respected him. I’ve never had a lot of respect.”

Trump continued, “And Sen. Burr [North Carolina’s Republican senator and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] said it best [in responding to reporters Thursday about Brennan’s fiery anti-Trump op-ed in The New York Times]: ‘If you knew anything, why didn’t you report it when you were before all of these committees,’ including their committee?”

Related: Are These the Five Looniest Liberal Reactions to Brennan Losing His Security Clearance?

“So he [Brennan] had a chance to report it; he never did,” continued the president. “This was just — came up lately, and it’s a disgusting thing, frankly. Look, I say it. I say it again: That whole situation is a rigged witch hunt. It’s a totally rigged deal. They should be looking at the other side. They should be looking at all the people that got fired by them — all of the people that got fired. They should be looking at [former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr] and his wife, Nellie, for dealing with, by the way, indirectly, Russians.”

Trump added, “They should be looking at [Christopher] Steele [the ex-British spy who wrote the salacious and so-called Steele dossier]. They should be looking at all these FBI guys who got fired and demoted. It’s a really — it’s not us. It is a rigged witch hunt.”

See Trump’s remarks in video below.

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