President Donald Trump said Monday that he would welcome a threatened lawsuit from former CIA director John Brennan, saying it would expose Brennan to the release of documents that would prove him to be “the worst CIA Director in our country’s history.”
Trump’s comments on Twitter came a day after Brennan said he is willing to take the president to court to prevent other current and former officials from having their security clearances revoked.
“I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit,” Trump said on Twitter. “It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt.”
Trump was referring to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Brennan, who served under President Barack Obama, played a role in assessing Russian efforts prior to Mueller’s appointment.
Trump’s Monday tweet came as a bipartisan outcry over his revocation of Brennan’s security clearance continued to grow, with the release of a statement of opposition signed by more than 175 alumni of national security jobs.
Brennan, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, said Sunday that a number of lawyers have contacted him to offer advice on pursuing an injunction to prevent Trump from taking similar actions in the future.
The White House has drafted documents revoking the clearances of several other current and former officials whom President Trump has demanded be punished for criticizing him or playing a role in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to senior administration officials.
“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,” Brennan said in an appearance on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”
“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 said.
The statement of support for Brennan released Monday was the third since the White House announced last week that it was taking action against him for making irresponsible claims during television appearances and on social media.
“Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former CIA Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them,” the latest statement says. “What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”
Among other things, Brennan has said that Trump’s repeated claims of “no collusion” between his campaign and Russians are “hogwash.”
On Thursday, 15 former top-level intelligence officials from Democratic and Republican administrations registered their dismay at what they said was an attempt by Trump to stifle free speech. On Friday, 60 former senior CIA officials added their names.
The latest statement is signed by career national security officials as well as political appointees from both parties.
The career officials include Nicholas J. Rasmussen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center; William J. Burns, former deputy secretary of state; and Douglas H. Wise, a former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Other former national security officials who signed include Anthony Lake, former national security adviser under President Bill Clinton, and Sean O’Keefe, former secretary of the Navy under President George H.W. Bush.
The statement is also signed by more than 10 former U.S. ambassadors and more than 20 former U.S. attorneys.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · John Wagner