Rachel Maddow sounded the alarm on Thursday, saying that Donald Trump isn’t just using his power to go after his critics; he’s also targeting key witnesses in Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Maddow said that “the practical effect” of Trump’s move to terminate the security clearance of former intelligence officials is to “interfere with that former official accessing his or her own notes and files” to use during key testimony.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) August 17, 2018
What if the practical effect of taking away a security clearance from a former official who was involved in the formative stages of the Russian investigation is that you interfere with that former official accessing his or her own notes and files? His or her own materials? From the former agency where those people worked during their time working on the Russia investigation. According to Brennan, that’s something that you’d need to do and that you might employ your security clearance to do if you’re going to be questioned on these matters as part of ongoing investigations. Look at the list. Look at almost all the names on the list of people the president wants to do this to. Brennan, CIA director during the Russia attack. Clapper, director of national intelligence during the Russia attack. Comey, director of the FBI during the Russia attack. McCabe, deputy director of the FBI during the Russia attack. Strzok, head of counterintelligence at the FBI during the Russia attack. Susan Rice, national security adviser during the Russia attack. Sally Yates, deputy attorney general during the Russia attack. Security clearances may or may not be something any of these people are using for their current work. But if they are stripped of their clearances or blocked from ever getting them again, what does that do to their ability to prepare for testimony and to testify if need be? We have good reason, after all, to think that a bunch of these people might have important things to say provided they can speak about classified material in a classified setting.
Trump himself admitted this is all about Russia
For a president who repeatedly says he isn’t guilty of obstruction, Donald Trump certainly obstructs justice a lot. On Thursday, he even admitted that his decision to terminate Brennan’s security clearance was directly connected to the Russia investigation.
As Maddow noted, reporting on Thursday suggests that Brennan was only the first, and Trump plans to target other former intelligence officials with similar connections to the Russia investigation.
It’s bad enough for a president to abuse his authority to go after his critics. But Trump’s behavior goes well beyond that. He isn’t just waging war on those who criticize him. He is systematically attacking key witnesses in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
In doing so, the president has only bolstered the special counsel’s already-strong case that he is guilty of obstructing justice.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.