Cutting Clearance and Manafort's Trial

In the White House press briefing today, Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that he was considering revoking security clearance from six former national security officials. The six individuals on Trump’s list; former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden. The rationale, according to the White House, for revoking the security clearance of these men, is a supposed misuse of the clearance. “When you have the highest level of security clearance, when you're the person that holds the nation's deepest, most sacred secrets at your hands and you go out and you make false accusations against the President on the United States, he says that's something to be concerned with,” Sanders said in her press briefing. Although this is not an abuse of the President's power, it is certainly unprecedented. In the past, former senior officials retain clearances so their successors can consult with them on a pro bono basis. Notably, Michael Flynn, Trump's onetime national security adviser, was fired during the Obama administration and maintained his clearance. His clearance was up held while he was acting as a campaign surrogate for Trump, when he often leading "lock her up" chants at political rallies.

The director of the Federation of American Scientists project on government secrecy, Steven Aftergood said that while Trump has the ultimate authority to revoke the clearances, he would first have to ask each agency that initially granted that clearance and order them to revoke it.

 

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III delayed the criminal trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort until July 31st. The reasoning from Judge Ellis was to allow Manafort’s attorney's adequate time to to review the new material submitted by prosecutors. Although there was a delay in trial, Judge Ellis warned, “I’m not going to allow this trial to drag on” adding that he would not be holding a political show in the courtroom “I’m not in the theater business.” In addition to the delay, Judge Ellis also unsealed the witness names Mueller had requested immunity for. Those names included;  Dennis Raico, Cindy Laporta, Conor O’Brien, Donna Duggan and James Brennan, all of whom are financial professionals who may have gained some knowledge of Manafort’s business dealings. Manafort has plead not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. Thes counts largely predate the time Manafort worked on the Trump team in 2016.

Manafort’s will be the first trial to originate in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election.