White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reads a statement from President Donald Trump announcing that he will remove the security clearance from former CIA Director John Brennan during the daily press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Washington. Sanders said the president will be reviewing the security clearances for a number of other former officials. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Latest: Ex-intel leaders admonish Trump in joint letter

August 16, 2018 - 10:56 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on former CIA Director John Brennan (all times local):

10:50 p.m.

Twelve former senior intelligence officials have issued a joint statement admonishing President Donald Trump for yanking former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, calling it "ill-considered and unprecedented."

The ex-officials say "the president's action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech."

The signees include six former CIA directors, five former deputy directors and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Two of the signees — Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden — have appeared on a White House list of people who may also have their security clearances revoked.

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4:10 p.m.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is challenging former CIA Director John Brennan's claim that President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia.

After Trump yanked Brennan's security clearance, Brennan said Trump's "claims of no collusion" are "hogwash."

Sen. Richard Burr said Thursday that Brennan is purporting to know — as fact — that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power.

Burr says if the claim is based on intelligence Brennan received while CIA director, it should have been included in the 2017 U.S. intelligence assessment of Russian meddling in the election. If it's based on intelligence Brennan has seen since leaving the CIA, Burr says that's an intelligence breach.

Burr says if it is political conjecture, Trump has full authority to pull Brennan's clearance.

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3:55 p.m.

A retired Navy admiral who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is telling President Donald Trump that he'd be honored if Trump would yank his security clearance just like he did to former CIA Director John Brennan.

William McRaven says few Americans have done more than Brennan to protect the nation.

McRaven tells Trump that he would consider it an honor if the president would revoke his security clearance as well so he can add his name to the list of individuals who have spoken out against Trump's presidency.

He says Trump can't suppress his critics' voices, which will continue until he becomes "the leader we prayed you would be."

McRaven spoke out in an open letter to Trump published Thursday in The Washington Post.

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6:35 a.m.

Former CIA Director John Brennan says he believes President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians and that the president revoked his security clearance to "silence others who might dare to challenge him."

In an opinion piece published in The New York Times on Thursday, Brennan cited press reports as evidence that Trump's claims of no collusion were "hogwash." He said the only question now is whether the collusion that took place "constituted criminally liable conspiracy."

Trump on Wednesday revoked Brennan's security clearance and defended the move by saying he believes Brennan is responsible for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Brennan wrote: "Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him."

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12:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is linking his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan to the special counsel's investigation into Russia election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump pointed to Brennan as one of those he believes is responsible for special counsel Robert Muller's investigation.

The newspaper reports that Trump called the investigation a "rigged witch hunt ... a sham" and went on to declare, "And these people led it." He added, "So I think it's something that had to be done."

Trump has ordered a review for nine others who have security clearances. He told the Journal he doesn't trust "many of those people on that list" and thinks they aren't "good people."

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