本帖由 ccc 于 2017-08-02 发布。版面名称：渥太华华人论坛
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump is considering stripping a half-dozen former national security officials of their security clearances, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, calling their public commentary about the ongoing Russia probe inappropriate.
Such a move would amount to an unprecedented use of presidential authority to punish political rivals. Critics quickly seized on the announcement, even as those under consideration downplayed the actual effect losing their clearances might have.
The list of former officials under consideration includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, according to Sanders.
"They've politicized, and in some cases, monetized their public service," Sanders said during a press briefing. "Making baseless accusations of an improper relationship with Russia is inappropriate."
Sanders would not say when the President would make the decision; she said only that the White House would provide updates when it had them.
Two officials on her list -- Comey and McCabe -- no longer have security clearances, people familiar with the matter said.
The announcement, made from the White House podium, came after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, tweeted that he planned to speak with Trump about removing Brennan's security clearance.
Later, Paul wrote that in their meeting, "I restated to him what I have said in public: John Brennan and others partisans should have their security clearances revoked."
Brennan declared last week that Trump's performance following a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was "nothing short of treasonous."
A decision to strip a former official of a security clearance would prove a striking use of presidential power. Even Michael Flynn, Trump's onetime national security adviser who was fired during the Obama administration, maintained his clearance when he was acting as a campaign surrogate for Trump, often leading "lock her up" chants at political rallies.
Sanders did little to mask the political nature of Trump's threat, indicating the President was frustrated by the former officials' criticism of him.
"When you have the highest level of security clearance, when you're the person that holds the nation's deepest, most sacred secrets at your hands and you go out and you make false accusations against the President on the United States, he says that's something to be concerned with," Sanders said.
"We're exploring what those options are and what that looks like," she said of the process for removing the officials clearances.
When they leave government, national security officials routinely maintain their security clearances, partly to consult with those who replace them about ongoing situations or issues.
Officials also use their clearances to obtain high-paying consulting positions in the private sector.
"I think this is just a very, very petty thing to do. And that's about all I'll say about it," Clapper said on CNN immediately after Sanders' briefing.
"There is a formal process for doing this," he added. "But, you know, legally the President has that prerogative and he can suspend and revoke clearances as he sees fit. If he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that's a terrible precedent and it's a really sad commentary and its an abuse of the system."
Hayden, meanwhile, indicated being stripped of his clearance would be of little consequence to his commentary.
"I don't go back for classified briefings. Won't have any effect on what I say or write," he tweeted.
Trump has harshly criticized intelligence officials from the previous administration, claiming they imbued the national security ranks with politics.
"Certainly, in the past, it's been terrible. You look at Brennan. You look at Clapper. You look at Hayden. You look at Comey. You look at McCabe," Trump said during a CBS News interview last week. "Certainly, I can't have any confidence in the past, but I can have a lot of confidence in the present and the future, because it's getting to be now where we're putting our people in. But in the past, no I have no confidence in a guy like Brennan. I think he's a total low life. I have no confidence in Clapper."
It is the President's prerogative to revoke security clearances, a former senior intelligence official said on Monday, who added that instances of such an occurrence were rare.
Usually former senior officials retain clearances so their successors can consult with them on a pro bono basis, the former official said.
Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists project on government secrecy, said that while Trump has the ultimate authority to revoke the clearances, he would first have to ask each agency that initially granted that clearance and order them to revoke it.
Aftergood said doing that would undermine and politicize the system.
"The idea that a president or a White House would single out individuals from a past administration who have been critical and revoke their clearances is not something we have ever seen before. It's not entirely clear how it could be performed," he said. "It undermines the integrity and the neutrality of security policy which is not based on political considerations but on professional character. That system would be undermined if it became a tool for settling political scores."
CNN's Mark Morales and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.
President Donald Trump is said to be considering revoking security clearance for ex-CIA boss John Brennan and other Obama-era critics of him.
The White House named six former intelligence, law enforcement and national security chiefs.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said they had "politicised and in some cases monetised their public service" to make "baseless accusations" about Mr Trump.
But at least two of them no longer have security clearance.
In Monday's scheduled news conference, Mrs Sanders also cited:
James Comey, former FBI director
Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director
James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence
Susan Rice, former National Security Adviser
Michael Hayden, former National Security Agency director
She denied a reporter's suggestion that the president wanted to punish the former officials - most of whom have served under both Democratic and Republican presidents - for exercising their right to free speech.
The press secretary said Mr Trump "doesn't like the fact that people are politicising agencies and departments that are specifically meant to not be political and to be monetised off security clearances".
She said security clearance "provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence".
Mr Clapper told CNN the plan was "a very, very petty thing to do".
He said it would be "a terrible precedent and a very sad commentary. And it's an abuse of the system."
Trump recorded discussing paying for Playboy model's story of affair
President's onetime lawyer Michael Cohen had secretly recorded the conversation in 2016
A secretly recorded tape of Donald Trump by his longtime personal lawyer was played on CNN Tuesday night in which the two can be heard talking about a potential payment for a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair and the soon-to-be president is heard discussing whether to "pay with cash."
The audio recording, surreptitiously made by Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen two months before the 2016 presidential election, was provided to CNN by Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis.
Trump denies wrongdoing, says Cohen's recording 'perhaps illegal'
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The conversation between Trump and Cohen came weeks after the National Enquirer's parent company reached a $150,000 deal to pay former Playboy model Karen McDougal for her story of a 2006 affair, which it never published, a tabloid practice known as catch and kill. Trump denies the affair ever happened and his campaign had said he knew nothing about the payment.
Trump and Cohen appear to be discussing buying the rights to McDougal's story from the Enquirer's parent company.
Trump lawyer audiotape reveals alleged payment conversation
'So what do we got to pay for this, one-fifty?': Trump to then lawyer Michael Cohen about $150K figure 0:44
Cohen can be heard on the tape saying that he needed to start a company "for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David," a possible reference to David Pecker, Trump's friend and president of the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc.
When Cohen begins to discuss financing, Trump interrupts him and asks, "What financing?"
"We'll have to pay," Cohen responded.
The audio is muffled, but Trump can be heard saying "pay with cash," though it isn't clear if he is suggesting to pay with cash or not to pay with cash. Cohen immediately says, "No, no, no" and Trump can then be heard saying, "check" or "cheque."
Trump fired back at Cohen over the recording on Wednesday morning.
"What kind of lawyer would tape a client? So sad!" the president wrote on Twitter.
Trump's current attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told The Associated Press that he's had an expert enhance the recording and the president says "don't pay with cash."
"It clearly indicates that the president did not want to pay with cash. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous and is inconsistent with the rest of the conversation, during which it was discussed doing it through a corporation," Giuliani said.
President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Cohen, as Trump's lawyer, thought it would be best if he could buy the rights to Karen McDougal's story. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)
Giuliani said Cohen, as Trump's lawyer, thought it would be best if he could buy the rights to McDougal's story and the recording captures the two of them discussing how to do that.
"Cohen says I have to pay him. The president brings up cash and says don't pay with cash and says 'cheque,' He wants it memorialized," Giuliani said. "Cohen then says 'No, no, no, no' and he cuts off the tape. He obviously cuts it off in mid-sentence and that in itself is suspicious."
"The president wanted to do it the right way. If you wanted to hide something, you would not do it by corporation or check," he said.
'Listen to the tape'
The payment was never made and Giuliani said he didn't know why that was the case and hadn't discussed it with Trump.
"Listen to the tape. Donald Trump is not shocked money is being paid about someone named Karen McDougal," Davis said during an interview with CNN.
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Davis said his client — who is under investigation by federal officials in New York — "has been disparaged and insulted and called all kinds of things."
"He's got truth on his side and he'll continue to tell the truth," Davis said.
Davis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP on Tuesday night.
A dozen audio recordings
American Media, Inc.'s payment effectively silenced McDougal through the election, though days beforehand news of the deal emerged in The Wall Street Journal. At the time, a Trump spokesperson said his campaign had "no knowledge of any of this."
The FBI raided Cohen's office, home and hotel room in April, searching in part for information about payments to McDougal and porn actress Stormy Daniels, who says she had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006 — which Trump denies — and was paid $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement signed days before the 2016 election.
Karen McDougal is shown at a 2004 event in Hollywood, Calif. (Cherie Steinberg/Getty Images)
A dozen audio recordings seized during those raids were forwarded to federal prosecutors last week after lawyers dropped challenges on attorney-client privilege grounds.
Giuliani said those recordings captured Cohen discussing the president with third parties, who he would not identify. They are also being enhanced by experts, he said.
Trump and Cohen can also be heard on the recording released Tuesday discussing other legal issues, including fighting a request by The New York Times to unseal court records concerning Trump's divorce from his first wife, Ivana.