The revocation of former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, and Trump's tweets this week suggesting that both the firing of Peter Strzok and the decision on Brennan were made as petty revenge, roundly clear the decks for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's obstruction of justice recommendations.
President Trump drew a direct connection between the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and review the clearances of several other former officials.
In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited Mr. Brennan as among those he held responsible for the investigation, which also is looking into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Mr. Trump has denied collusion, and Russia has denied interfering.
Mr. Brennan was director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Democratic administration of former President Obama and one of those who presented evidence to Mr. Trump shortly before his inauguration that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.
“I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “And these people led it!”
He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”
Mr. Brennan—who since leaving office has become a frequent critic of the Republican president—in a tweet called the revocation of his clearance “part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.” He wrote it “should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out.”
Brennan is correct here, but let's set some ground rules on this particular debate. First of all, Brennan was a terrible Obama choice, and he was problematic well before he ever became CIA Director. But at least he went out swinging on Donald Trump and Russia. He may be a career CIA crapsack, but he recognizes the threat that Trump represents.
And that brings us to the fact that Trump is happily bragging that Strzok, Brennan, and other critics of Trump who worked on the Russia investigation have been fired for working on the Russia investigation. Trump is happily copping to obstruction here. Remember, Brennan left as soon as Trump became Commander-in-chief.
So yeah, at this point Mueller has to be ready to recommend obstruction, and the fight will go to SCOTUS. Trump wants to make sure Brett Kavanaugh is in place before that happens.