Former CIA Director John Brennan is threatening to sue President Donald Trump to stop him from stripping security clearances from other officials who criticize him.
“If my clearances — and my reputation, as I’m being pulled through the mud now — if that’s the price we’re going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me, it’s a small price to pay,” Brennan told NBC television’s Meet the Press Sunday.
“I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future and if it means going to court, I will do that,” he added.
Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance last week because the president said he had to do something about what he calls the “rigged” investigation into alleged collusion between his campaign and Russian election interference.
Trump said he believes Brennan, who served during the administrations of former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is one of those responsible for the investigation.
Brennan was among a group of intelligence officials who spoke with Trump before his inauguation about evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The president also said he plans to or is thinking about stripping nine other current and former senior intelligence officials of their clearances.
More than 75 U.S. intelligence officers have spoken out, saying they have the right to criticize and administration without having to pay a penalty.
Brennan, CIA director during President Barack Obama’s second term, has been a familiar face on television talk shows as one of Trump’s severest critics.
He called Trump’s behavior at the joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki “treasonous.”
He said on NBC that he is not a Democrat or a Republican, instead calling himself just someone who wants to be heard like any private citizen.
“(Trump) is bringing the country down on the global stage. … He’s fueling and feeding divisiveness within our country. He continually lies to the American people,” Brennan said on Meet the Press.
Appearing on the same NBC broadcast, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani called Brennan’s charge that Trump committed treason “extraordinary” and said Brennan has no information on whether Trump conspired with Putin.
Giuliani called Brennan a “totally unhinged character who shouldn’t have a security clearance.”