Sen. Rand Paul suspects the “deep state is actually protecting their own” and former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance was never revoked following President Trump’s orders.
The Kentucky Republican blasted the intelligence community in an appearance on CNN Tuesday, commenting on a report in The New York Times last month that claimed the White House never followed through on stripping Brennan of his security clearance following Trump’s revocation order in August.
Attempts to revoke the clearance of the outspoken Trump critic were “hampered by aides who slow-rolled the President and by Justice Department officials who fought Trump, warning he was jeopardizing national security,” according to The Times report.
CNN’s Brianna Keilar asked Paul, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to comment on the report.
“I want to ask you, because you’ve been really a critic of John Brennan, who has been a critic of President Trump,” CNN’s Brianna Keilar said to the senator.
“You’ve not been a big fan of him. You’ve said that. He’s the former CIA director under President Obama,” she added. “What do you think about this recent New York Times story that Brennan still has his security clearance? This was such a big, I guess, promise of the president’s, demand of the president. He said he was going to pull it, and he still has it.”
The GOP lawmaker felt the “deep state” was likely the culprit behind the failure.
“Well, this is what worries me. People talk about the Deep State. Now the Deep State is actually protecting their own and not listening to the president’s orders,” Paul replied.
“I was sitting in the White House when President Trump said, ‘I want his security clearance taken,’ and I saw the order given. I saw the chief of staff was there, not the current chief of staff, the previous chief of staff,” he said, referring to former White House chief of staff John Kelly.
“And if they’re working against the odds of the president, that really does disrupt our country, does disrupt a representative democracy where the president makes a decision, and if someone is countermanding that, I think we need to get to the bottom of that,” Paul added.
He hoped Trump would look into who defied his orders and follow through, adding that he believes Brennan has been “a partisan” and “abused his office in developing the Trump investigation. I think it was done under false pretenses and done for political reasons.”
Last year, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders read from a statement announcing Brennan’s security clearance was being revoked by the administration, citing the former CIA chief’s “lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 15, 2018
Paul called into question the security clearance of the former Obama official after Brennan was hired as a senior national security and intelligence analyst at NBC.
“He has a history of having a problem with leaking, who in their right mind would want to let him have the power still to search through everybody’s records?” Paul told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson last July. “I think it’s completely crazy and the idea that he could be passing secrets to the media, that’s alarming
Questioning whether Brennan was “monetizing” his clearance, Paul noted he would speak to Trump about the issue and then praised the president when he followed through.
Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance!
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 23, 2018
Brennan has come under more scrutiny lately due to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Claims that he made to Congress about contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign, though asserting he had been given “bad information,” raised questions from Republicans about his role in the collusion narrative.
Political consultant and Trump ally Roger Stone tweeted and deleted a message last weekend calling for Brennan to be “hung for treason.”
Roger Stone pushes social media rules, says ‘psycho’ John Brennan should be ‘hung for treason’ https://t.co/2nbo2GsRdl
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 3, 2019
With Attorney General William Barr’s attention focused on the origins of the “witch hunt” Mueller investigation, Brennan has been under increasing pressure along with other Obama-era officials.
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