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CNN: Trump intel chief not consulted before decision to revoke Brennan's clearance

The Hill logo The Hill 8/15/2018 Jacqueline Thomsen
Dan Coats, Donald Trump are posing for a picture © Provided by The Hill

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was not consulted ahead of the decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, CNN reported Wednesday.

Coats is the top-ranking intelligence officer for the U.S. His office referred The Hill to the White House for comment.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Wednesday President Trump's decision to revoke Brennan's security clearance.

"As the head of the executive branch and the commander in chief, I have a unique constitutional responsibility to protect the nation's classified information, including by controlling access to it," Trump said in a statement read by Sanders at a press briefing.

Brennan is a frequent critic of the president, most recently condemning Trump on Tuesday for his tweet calling former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a "dog."

Sanders said Trump is also reviewing security clearances for former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former National Security Administration Director Michael Hayden, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr.

Past administration officials keep their security clearances in part to offer guidance to their successors; keeping the clearances allows them to give up-to-the-minute advice to current officials.

Coats made headlines last month after he revealed that he did not know what took place during a private meeting between Trump and former Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, and for his incredulous reaction to the news that the White House had invited Putin to Washington, D.C., for a second meeting.

He later issued a statement apologizing for his reaction to the breaking news, saying he did not mean to disrespect the president.

Coats, who was Trump's pick to serve as intelligence chief, indicated earlier this month that he still did not know the full details of what happened during Trump and Putin's meeting.

Coats also revealed last month that he did not know that Trump met with top Russian officials in the Oval Office last year, calling it "probably not the best thing to do."

"I am not aware of anything like that since," Coats said during an interview last month. "You have to understand - you have a president that did not come through the system, came from the outside. I don't think there was any nefarious attempt there to do anything, but that's history."

-Updated 3:44 p.m.

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