The Briefing Room: Trump revokes Brennan's security clearance

Former CIA Director John Brennan has been a vocal critic of the president.
18:42 | 08/15/18

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Transcript for The Briefing Room: Trump revokes Brennan's security clearance
And welcome to the prepare my Devin Dwyer the second White House briefing in as many days a rare treat in this White House and a massive change of subject in fact they think guys. The word Amoroso was only mentioned once joined by justice official here Meredith McGraw making her briefing room debut when White House producers great to have Meredith with us. I'm a little good news guys at the top there about John Brennan and the former CIA director and Obama. Remember the Obama administration obviously the president had teased that he was gonna revoke his CIA security cards and you get. Big change of subject. Made in they'd said last month that they are considering doing this bomb. They revoked his security clearance today and what does that mean traditionally that there are people like the former director of the CIA are but keep their security clearances and their trust advisors to. Any White House he even the ones that come after them and no call on them. That is not the case is Tara. John Brennan just created a Twitter account within the last twelve months and is dedicated solely to attacking the president I mean I must say it in the that this guy bothers the president and mrs. Retribution. And Merritt at the port Press Secretary was pressed a couple of times just like she was a few weeks ago when this first came up that this. Seems to be all about political retribution the president going after his critics she listed a half dozen names today former. Obama officials who have served in the Justice Department various capacities. Dear under review but she's she's denied that this has anything to do with politics what's really going on here. In a lot of ways it's sort of seems like they're changing the subject and trying to shift the attention and sports. I'll have a second all that things and have been going on there buy if your number at Brent and really did make a splash after -- stinky but who and he called trumps. You know press conference are nothing short of treason and senator Rand Paul was one of the people that calls on trump Q. About it security clearance by the timing of this does seem like me and I. Eking and a number of other people that Sarah did rather than good considering com. Call me Hayden Yates rice McCabe struck or. A number of these people Purcell have been hired sorry lost me loser strip like that's all over so it. And and they knew that yet again they're teasing doing it after they've been fired she mansion that later that they they realize that it's been gone already but I mean it. That's a little listen again to Sarah's announcement at the top of the greatness of the statement. From president front and self. Today in fulfilling that responsibility. I decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Historically former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information. After their government service so that they can consult their successors regarding matters. About which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy. Neither of these justification supports mr. Brennan's continued access to classified information. First at this point my administration. Any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with mr. Brennan. Are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior. All right so Jordan she didn't present at sprint toward Phelps over at the White House she was their for the breaking Jordan. Sarah Sanders didn't present any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of John Brennan or any of the others when it comes to classified information. She simply said that has to do with some of their misstatements. Yeah that's right she's citing his erratic behavior as he saw there in particular and she was press in a briefing about. Have there been any violations of his I've classified information after all. I Sarah sat in her statement this has to do with the president's constitutional responsibility to protect that confidential information. But they have no evidence the only thing they do you have is that Bernanke has made these statements that have been ups adding to this president. I and it's interesting and in addition to changing this act act. That this comes a day after you know all the briefing lies kind of dominated by opera sat they haven't been able to silence as former a now it looks like they're 1980s some other mechanism to try to silence people who have spoken out against this White House it's a warning shots. And Harvard in our ABC news contributor John Cohen who used to be a member. Of the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security John thanks for joining us you of course are very familiar with these security clearances what it takes to get them. What it means to keep them. You know back when this threat was first issued we heard from guys like clapper and call me that it doesn't really matter it's mostly symbolic a courtesy. Which years are senators today suggested this could also hindered these folks is ability to get a clearance in the future right. Well if it. Possible but not likely and I had I stayed after the trees and and in the usual administration's. Security clearance is our art taken back. When somebody has demonstrated through their behavior. Unwillingness or inability to safeguard national security information. So in the last the reason for the relocation. Is clearly laid out as being. Back John Brennan are being a result that John Brennan. Failed to safeguard national security information. If he were to apply. First at a current and future. It probably would not be considered derogatory information. 22% of would anyone doubt that that I just construct couple things. One this is highly unusual and I worked in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the Bush Administration. Can highways gender of the acting undersecretary for intelligence during the Obama administration for ths. To have somebody who has left government particularly someone is headed an intelligence community organization. And to have their parents picking away because they're criticizing. By the administration process. I've never heard of it my career secondly. This really potentially. If sir statistics at the detriment. The government and our intelligence community because the reason why it. Former officials who led intelligence community organizations. Are. Retain their clearances is so that they can be called back in the service. To provide guidance and information. To those who are running these organizations. Garrity did it during time in a crisis. So. By taking John Brennan's. Clarence away by revoking it Clarence. We are losing him as a resource. Should be current leadership of the CIA. But the national security community. One to leverage its experience. Our information that he may have because of its pastoral. John I'll ask you about that just before we let you go Dennis here there's been a lot of talk about with the president's power his ability basically unfettered to take this away. But is does Brennan had any recourse to get it back could there be allies within the national security apparatus who could help him in our in the future could Democrats in congress. Do something to reinstate that's. While the president had does have broad authority. To relate to national security information whether it classifying information do you classifying information. Or are you know. Causing the apparatus here you. Turn to revoke summon security clearance but I have to day. You know this is somewhat uncharted territory. Because if it turns out as I have what it was indicating earlier. That misery vacation was not the result. A a security issue. Where it Brandon. It where it was determined that Brennan failed to safeguard national security information. And if it turns out that his clearance was taken away solely for political reasons. That would be highly unusual and highly disturbing. And my guess is he won't even want to get his security clearance back to let this go it's not as if he's attending security briefings is intelligent ravens on a regular basis. Again this is sort of a courtesy to keep it with the what these guys and and and though until final thing the best question in the briefing today with. They set up this this the reason is because Brennan made false statements right so if the standard for removing security clearances is false statements. I feel like there might be few other people in the administration you might want to consider and and they threw that this air today and she of course. On the heels of a misleading statement at best that she made yesterday were more on madness John culinary ABC news national security contributor John thank you so much. For your expertise is always. You know this whole episode an announcement is an. Unquestionably. An effort on the part of the White House to distract him from the other major story this week Omer Austin medical Newman's new book unhinged. I had been sucking up all the oxygen the past couple of days and it was her name was only mentioned once and in a briefing attorney Edmond early yet Bennett it's been a long couple days of that story but thick cloud Meredith hasn't hasn't lifted from the White House in fact you've been talking to a number of aids. In the west wing there's X real concern. About these tapes that she me. Yeah I win so went after she appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday I talked to lord and half dozen people who worked in the White House what her people used to work in the White House and there is real concern that some other conversations were taped. And you know that they may have sent some you know unbecoming things without their knowledge. And there's real questions about how many tapes there are. Where she's keeping these tapes. And you know. Another thing make constantly came up whereas people really quick to throw her under the bias talk about her professional behavior in the White House by she was there for almost a year and it. And it a lot of money act. I picked up a little bit on the concern from yesterday's briefing that that was quite a moment when Ferris Sanders would not offer guarantee. That there weren't wasn't some tape at their words have and that. And that just sort of I think she shouldn't have said that I think she realizes that she could've handled that differently. Om it's truthful to say you can never guarantee anything but it just sort of raises and so the little doubt and to what they believe about this president. Gotta believe that there's some real anxiety there about whether who reportedly there's so much lying going on with with these former aides and current grades that it's it's really complicated that's. God bring in Jordan felt some more time from the White House correspondent Jordan. On perhaps it's a little bit quiet on the on the roster front today because she hasn't been out of her media tour in fact she's meeting with her lawyers today. We we know and that's because. The trump campaign is basically filed a legal procedure against her to keep her quiet. Nat and seven what's interesting in addition to that statement that the president out ballots read aloud. At covent today's briefing the president has really helped his ire of senate today so that's one of the quickest ways make this story go away as for the president. To just stop talking about it so much but a lot of questions about what sort of legal jeopardy Amro said could be an especially if she's out there making false claims I would talk to want out both parties on. In this story the event discredit it buy it if she has been making false claims. There is some grounds for potential defamation or or libel case here we haven't heard that that's being perceived but there is that potential. Are much more commonly a Morris a front Jordan thank you for that standby the other big story Washington today is the closing arguments in the palm and a fort president trumps. Four campaign chairman. His legal case in federal court is in the final stages it could go to the jury today. I believe we have our reporter Catherine folders who has been tracking the case all along Catherine this thing is very quickly coming to a had. I give us the latest on where we are were closing arguments. He asked for the prosecution. Deliver their closing arguments today for about two hours they pay. Man for as outlying heiress schemer basic quote when you follow. The trail of manna for its money it's littered with lies. They have wrapped up now the defense. Is delivering their closing statements now there portraying him or as a businessman who included a lot of people in his businesses saying you know this. These crimes aren't on the and a fourth spot and they've shifted over to the prosecution's star witness. Rick gates really attacking him and Democrat show you how we get the information out of this court we just got this and we've been poring through this information all of these. Yellow. Take her sheets from legal pads with stars next to the import it lies well. His lead attorney covering up Kevin downing is up delivering closing statements and he's saying. Speaking of Rick gates is somebody mr. manna for trusted what a big mistake now was pinning this all on gates you know that they did it deliver. A case at all they didn't present a case at all they're really relying on that cross examination of gates last week and then. They're closing arguments again to bring it all back to met with former business partner Rick gates at the man behind all of. He's its. The defense as you say declaring him innocent. Of all these charges will be fascinating to see in fact it was a question guys it was put to officer Sanderson as the president. Think that palm and a four is innocent here she didn't exactly answer that. He has said in the past that he's been treated unfairly and it and it raises the big question is you can use. The power of pardon. And things right for that I don't know I mean it that that's an open question a little too early to get into my opponent pretty closely Meredith in the west wing the president is. It is sort of has that what on the one hand some tried to insulate himself from palm and a sports is that Francis was a guy who was. Worked for frequently campaign didn't mind on. And the other hand he's tweeted about it and we know that he's watching. Keep in mind he is eight nature news consumer he loves watching TV records show is and this is dominated the headlines it's an honor on his favorite channels. We've been following it closely of course here in covering no doubt the president elect has the briefing room that we question. We certainly want and Ana winds and loved it happened line comment below. Had a standing invitation to come on any time is speaking of consuming media that we know of the president panel and watching the news but metaphor but also about Mueller. Hot today and tweeting about the Mahler investigation which is now you know are stretching into its second year coming up on the mid term elections he's called it. The rig Russian witch hunt has actually taken some pot shots today to credibility again. And in this extraordinary statement just a short time ago guys. From the president's attorney Rudy Giuliani he's done a lot of media set a lot of things but this one seemed to go just a little bit further. He said if Bob Mueller doesn't get this report completed in the next couple weeks that is by Labor Day well there's an unload on him like a ton of bricks. Ship him dead what does that mean I mean he's there already unloading right this is like a one sided screaming match that Giuliani has been at it constantly and Mahler. It's an award I mean what more can may unload. But there is a sense Jordan Phelps at the White House that that the president obviously has been increasingly frustrated by how long this has dragged on. And you do hear from aids there that they would like to see. Perhaps some sort of resolution by a Labor Day they don't want this leading into the campaign and they actually seem to be looking for a fight. That's right and they definitely want this wrapped up before it had any potential impact on the maternal action. Abbott there's sort of this counter argument that's also being me that bill that hump White House doesn't really want this to go away ties. This gives them something to fight against as you mentioned they want to how to fight and the president. I feels he's done a pretty good job discrediting. At this as a rate witch hunt as he likes to call it so as long as his supporters are on his side. And believe that people are coming after the president unjustly this can actually be used to galvanize his eight. All right turn Phelps that the White House Jordan thank you so much we know you'll be out on the campaign trail. And we are just about eighty days from the mid term skies it's coming up very quickly there were some more primaries last night were wrapped in a primary season four states. In an interest in nightmare that that for Democrats. Who we've seen this campaign season sort of internal struggle for Democrats between the establishment Democrats and progressive Democrats. Iraqi some brilliant pristine. Historic winners last night. That we had beaten the first openly transgender. Candidate. You know be nominated. Vermont when Vermont and exactly how accomplished. You know a woman you could go on to be the first Muslim Americans. Congressman. And trump was touting this as a victory for. For him he he offered endorsements but I think the real question is going to be. You know when he goes into the general action. And they're more independent voters I'm people who aren't you know is hard core Republicans. They'll actually have this cancer support but it was a big big. Big night for talk. And and we should say there a couple of new polls today before wrapping up on the generic ballot that is appalling. And it nationwide poll CNN has won quinnipiac has won. Who would you vote for in your race the Democrat or Republican Democrats in both of those. Are are quite far had eleven points nine points respectively doesn't bode well for Republicans. Op with president and today was talking to accordingly doubts he former cancer and I campaign manager he says presence conductor for forty plus days. In the homestretch. A lot of travel like they're say fine art that's right. That's going to be frequent. I mean did you. Unfortunately now it will be out there may work out. You'll be out there toward Phelps will be out there will be following it the whole way here in the briefing room thank you so much for watching on this once and Devin Dwyer just official. Meredith McGraw making heard of did view the Phoenix.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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