Brennan says Trump move 'designed to send message'

Ex-CIA director's security clearance revoked

In a striking admission after his unprecedented move to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, President Donald Trump said in a new interview that his true motive for targeting Brennan was his role in the start of the Russian Federation investigation.

"I call it the rigged witch hunt", Trump said of the Russian Federation probe.

"Mr Trump's claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash", he said.

Trump said Wednesday he is reviewing the security clearances of several other former top intelligence and law enforcement officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and current senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

Read the full op-ed here.

Reactions from Republican lawmakers were mixed, with some critical of Trump while others blamed Brennan for acting inappropriately.

"So I think it's something that had to be done", he added.

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Brennan, who was head of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2013 to 2017, also raised the occasion in July 2016 wen Trump called on the Russians to find the missing emails of his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

Former high-ranking officials typically retain their security clearance when they leave office so their successors can consult with them on sensitive issues.

Hayden made a similar suggestion in an interview with CNN. "And that is a terrible message to be sending to folks who are there to tell you objective truth".

He has previously described as "treasonous" the joint press conference Mr Trump held with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Finland last month.

Brennan, a persistent critic of Trump, lashed out at the president for calling former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a "dog" in a tweet, saying "it's astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility & probity".

President Donald Trump confers with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, during a cabinet meeting on Thursday in the White House.

Shortly after they sent out the first statement, the White House released a second, identical statement that was undated.

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