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Mr Brennan, who served under President Barack Obama and has become a vocal Trump critic, called Mr Trump's claims that he did not collude with Russian Federation "hogwash".

Sanders added that Trump would review the security clearances of other critics: former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page; the FBI veterans no longer have clearances per Bureau exit procedures. They said it "has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances - and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech".

Trump challenged the suggestion that he was trying to silence critics by taking away security clearances.

"There are few, if any, who have a more impressive record of service", Hayden said.

Trump later said that he stripped Brennan's clearance because of his role in investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. "Decisions on security clearances should be based on national security and not political views".

Mr Trump on Wednesday openly tied his decision to strip Mr Brennan of his clearance - and threaten almost a dozen other former and current officials - to the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with his campaign. "Very, very important. I've had a tremendous response for having done that".

Signaling that his efforts to target clearances over his frustration with the Russian Federation investigation were not over, Trump tweeted that it was a "disgrace" for Bruce Ohr to be in the Justice Department.

Ohr works in the Justice Department's criminal division.

"Mr. Mueller is highly conflicted".

Copies of any reports, memoranda or other materials provided to Senator Reid and/or members of his staff by the Central Intelligence Agency relating to alleged Russian "collusion" or cooperation between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Putin told reporters in Helsinki, while standing next to Trump, that he had wanted the former NY businessman to win the White House.

Trump has ordered a review for nine others who have security clearances. "Beyond that, this action is quite clearly a signal to the former and current officials", the statement said.

During an appearance Thursday morning on "Fox & Friends" on the Fox News Channel, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Trump's action. "I say it again: That whole [Russia] situation is a rigged witch hunt". No, remember you keep those security clearances as a professional courtesy or to keep an unbroken line for the next successor administration if you can be helpful with respect to national security.

President Donald Trump brushed off criticism from retired Adm. William McRaven Friday on the lifting of security clearances of administration opponents.


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