Brennan arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

And that puts Trump's new targeting of Brennan and the others in a much darker light.

Trump himself drew a direct connection between the revocation of Brennan's clearance and the Russian Federation probe, telling The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the investigation is a "sham", and "these people led it!"

Former University of Texas Chancellor William McRaven, who as a U.S. Navy admiral, commanded the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, asked President Trump on Thursday to take away his security clearance-one day after the president removed it from a former Central Intelligence Agency director who has been critical of Trump.

The only question remaining is whether the collusion amounts to a "constituted criminally liable conspiracy", Brennan wrote.

Retired US Navy admiral William McRaven, a former US Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that took out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, delivered a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump.


Trump cited that the Department of Justice's inquiry into Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election was the reason why Brennan's clearance was revoked. "Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation".

Mueller has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies, including Russian intelligence officials and former Trump aides.

Responding to the measure, Mr Brennan labelled Mr Trump as possessing tyrannical traits and said the move comprised part of the president's broader efforts to "suppress freedom of speech and punish critics".

The signees included six former CIA directors, five former deputy directors and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

"Clearly, I think Mr. Trump is getting more and more concerned, more and more desperate, more and more frightened", Brennan said. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump again called the probe a "rigged witch hunt" and said "These people led it!" "So I think it's something that had to be done".


In Tuesday's press briefing she only cited what she called Brennan's "erratic conduct and behavior" that "has tested and far exceeded the limits of any professional courtesy that may have been due to him".

What Trump said about Sessions earlier: The back-and-forth between Trump and Sessions came just two days after Trump unleashed his latest public criticism of his attorney general, tweeting that "if we had a real Attorney General", the special counsel's investigation "would never have been started".

They include former FBI Director James Comey; James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former national security adviser Susan Rice; and Andrew McCabe, who served as Trump's deputy FBI director until he was sacked in March.

Patrick Cotter, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of NY and a longtime white-collar defense attorney, said that while a prosecutor could argue that Trump's targeting of clearances was intended as a warning that "if you contribute to, participate in, support the Russian Federation probe and I find out about it, I'm going to punish you", it is likely not obstruction in itself. And that could lead him straight into a legal morass, according to former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.


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