Former CIA director Brennan mulls lawsuit against Trump | News | DW | 19.08.2018
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Former CIA director Brennan mulls lawsuit against Trump

Former CIA director John Brennan accused President Donald Trump of abusing his presidential authority. Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance last week in response to Brennan's criticism of the president.

Former CIA director John Brennan said he was considering legal action against President Donald Trump and also called on Congress to prevent Trump from abusing his authority.

Brennan said Trump abused his power this past week when he stripped the former CIA chief of his security clearance, which gave him access to classified briefings.

Speaking Sunday on a televised public affairs program, Brennan said losing his security clearance didn't hurt him personally but slammed the president for punishing — and threatening to punish — people who disagree with him.

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The former intelligence chief said he'd spoken to several lawyers about possible legal action against the president, who said he had a list of people who were at risk of losing their security clearance.

Brennan said he would do whatever he could "to try to prevent these abuses in the future." He said, "If it means going to court, I will do that."

More than 75 former intelligence officials have criticized Trump's decision to withdraw Brennan's security clearance, saying they had the constitutional right to express themselves without fear of punishment. Brennan also called on Congress to stand-up and block the president from abusing his authority.

Dark days in America

The White House has reportedly drawn up more revocation orders, raising the chilling specter of a so-called "enemies list," echoing two of the darkest periods in modern US history.

In the early 1970s President Richard Nixon drew up such a list as his presidency began to unravel amid the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to his downfall.

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Likewise, former Senator Joseph McCarthy, who gave rise to McCarthyism and the witch-hunt for communists and their sympathizers in the 1950s, also had an enemies list.

During an interview on with NBC's "Meet the Press," Brennan doubled down on his inflammatory accusation against the president.

"I called his behavior treasonous. I stand very much by that claim," he said. "These are abnormal times ... I have seen the signs blinking red on what Mr. Trump has done and is doing."

Brennan initially accused the president of engaging in "treasonous" behavior after Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month.

Then, Trump sided with the Russian president and former KGB agent over his own intelligence community on the issue of whether the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 US election to help Trump win.

Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor, is investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia and whether the president committed obstruction of justice.

Brennan has also dismissed Trump's repeated assertion that there was "no collusion" with Russia as "hogwash." But he said whether such actions rise to the level of criminal negligence is up to the special prosecutor to determine.

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bik/rc (AP, AFP)

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