ABC's Martha Raddatz stumped John Bolton — and torpedoed Trump's excuse for revoking former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance.
Trump national security adviser John Bolton flamed out while trying to defend Trump's decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance.
Trump claims he revoked Brennan's clearance to protect classified information — but during a Sunday interview on ABC, Bolton was unable to provide a single example of Brennan actually misusing any classified information. This made it clearer than ever that Trump's attacks on Brennan are petty and politically motivated.
"What does this have to do with protecting classified information?" anchor Martha Raddatz asked Bolton on Sunday morning's edition of "This Week," referring to Trump's decision to strip Brennan of his security clearance.
Bolton insisted that former intelligence officials need to "keep that wall of separation between intelligence and policy, and I don't think Brennan has followed that ... whether he actually used classified information, I think people will be able to determine."
"Are there any specific examples that you think he used classified intelligence to politicize?" Raddatz asked.
"No," Bolton replied, "but I think there is a line, and somebody can cross it."
After Bolton brought up his own criticism of past administrations, Raddatz asked, "Would you have been fine if President Obama had revoked your security clearance for criticizing him, which you did frequently?"
"No, because I didn't use classified information," Bolton claimed — implying once again that Brennan had crossed that line, but Bolton hadn't.
"But let me be clear here, you're not sure whether John Brennan used classified information?" Raddatz asked. "You have no specific examples."
"I don't know the specifics," Bolton admitted, after mentioning vague concerns he claimed "a number of people" had about Brennan.
"So, the line to you for people who should have their security clearance revoked, is if they use classified information. But you're not really sure whether he did," Raddatz summarized.
Bolton shifted strategies at this point, telling Raddatz that "there are lots of grounds to have your security clearance revoked."
The fact is, there's no evidence that Brennan misused classified information. But the Trump administration wants to create the impression that he did, so that Trump has a pretext to punish one of his most vocal and credible critics.
Trump may also want to punish Brennan because, like every other member of Trump's enemies list, Brennan has been deeply involved in the effort to protect America from Russian attacks on our election.
In fact, Trump admitted as much in an interview last week, telling the Wall Street Journal that he revoked Brennan's clearance and threatened others because of the Russia investigation. “I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham. And these people led it!” he said.
As long as Trump is in office, there will be people who will go out and try to defend him — but none of them can hide from the truth.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.