Monday morning news: August 20, 2018


Brennan threatens legal action over security clearance » Controversy continues to swell over President Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

Brennan is now threatening legal action to stop what he calls an abuse of power on the president’s part. And many other former CIA directors are backing him up.

Last week, twelve former directors issued a joint statement accusing the president of using security clearances as a political tool. And on Sunday, one of those former officials, Leon Panetta, told CBS …

PANETTA: This president is now going after people, and the indication that I saw was that he’s going to provide these names to the press office to use this issue when it’s a bad news day. 

The White House said last week the president is considering revoking the clearances of nine more former officials.

But other former intelligence officials say Brennan himself has politicized the issue by becoming one of the president’s most outspoken critics.

Brennan on Sunday doubled down on his remarks from last month when he tweeted that President Trump’s joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki—quote—“rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’”

BRENNAN: I called his behavior treasonous, which is to betray one’s trust and to aid and abet the enemy, and I stand very much by that claim. 

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen said Sunday that that kind of rhetoric is not helpful.

MULLEN: That has put him in a political place, which actually does more damage for the intelligence community, which is apolitical, even as he’s retired. 

And on CNN’s State of the Union, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said much the same:

CLAPPER: John and his rhetoric have become, I think, an issue in and of itself.


Trump blasts NYT report on WH lawyer in Russia probe » Meanwhile, the president on Sunday slammed a New York Times report claiming a White House lawyer’s been cooperating extensively with the Russia probe.

The president took to Twitter Sunday morning, saying—quote—“The failing New York Times wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House [counsel] Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special [counsel], he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT.’ But I allowed him and all others to testify—I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide.”

John Dean was a Watergate-era White House attorney who turned on Richard Nixon.

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s attorney, told Fox News the Mueller team is desperate because it has no case and leaked the story to the press in a ploy to persuade the president to testify.

GIULIANI: And they’re hoping that if they put out a story like this in which they suggest that McGahn is cooperating against him—but don’t say it; they don’t say that—that he’ll want to come in and explain himself. 

Giuliani said Trump allowed special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to interview White House officials because his team believed fully participating would be the fastest way to bring the investigation to a close. Giuliani said that approach has proven to be wrong.


Thousands remain stranded amid flooding in India » AUDIO: [Sound of rescue workers]

The sound of rescuers inflating rafts in Kerala, India to move children and the elderly to higher ground amid relentless monsoon flooding. Thousands remain stranded, waiting for rescue.

Heavy rains hit parts of the state again over the weekend, slowing efforts to get rescuers and relief supplies to isolated areas. Many have seen no help for days and can only be reached by boat or helicopter.

At least 350 people are now dead from the flooding. The downpours that started Aug. 8 have triggered the worst flooding in Kerala in a century. The rains have caused homes and bridges to collapse across the coastal area.


Another earthquake hits Indonesian island of Lombok » Meantime, another strong earthquake has rocked Indonesia’s Lombok Island. Sunday’s 6.9 magnitude quake cut power across the island and destroyed buildings. It lasted five to 10 seconds, and residents in the neighboring islands of Bali and Sumbawa felt the tremors.

And as U.S. Geological Survey’s Paul Caruso explains, that wasn’t the end of it.

CARUSO: We had another aftershock that was 5.9 that occurred about 20 minutes after the main earthquake.

Indonesian officials had no immediate official information about casualties. But they are hopeful collapsed buildings won’t prove as deadly this time. Many in Lombok were already staying  in tents following quakes earlier this month, which killed hundreds.


I’m Kent Covington. Legal Docket is coming up next. Plus, the WORLD Radio History Book. This is The World and Everything in It.


(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) In this May 23, 2017, file photo former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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