Brennan is considering legal action to hit back after Trump revoked his security clearance

  • Former CIA Director John Brennan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Trump's revoking of his security clearance was an "egregious abuse of power and authority."
  • Brennan said several lawyers have contacted him, and he's considering taking legal action against Trump.
  • Trump has also expressed his desire to revoke clearances from other officials who have been vocal critics of him, setting off concerns he's acting in his own political interests to control access of former officials.

Former CIA Director John Brennan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday he was considering legal action to hit back after President Donald Trump revoked his security clearance last week.

Brennan told host Chuck Todd he was prepared to fight back against what he called "yet another example of his egregious abuse of power and authority" by Trump.

"If my clearances — and my reputation as I'm being pulled through the mud now — if this is the price we're going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this to other people, to me it's a small price to pay," Brennan said. "If it means going to court, I will do that."

Brennan's clearance loss set off a firestorm of commentary from both sides of the aisle, though the White House described the move as a necessary defense against Brennan's "erratic conduct and behavior".

Brennan's revocation could be the first of many

clapper yatesChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump has said he is considering revoking clearance of several other former intelligence and legal officials, all of whom have been outspoken critics of him. Brennan said this motivation was a clear signal Trump was weaponizing his control over the access of former intelligence officials on a personal basis.

"It was a clear signal to others who still have their security clearances, both in the government as well as outside, that if you cross him, if you speak out against him, he is going to use whatever tools he might have at his disposal to punish you," Brennan said.

The list includes former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former acting attorney general Sally Yates, former national security advisor Susan Rice, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

But three of the officials the White House said were under review may not even have active security clearances to revoke.

Former officials rallied after the announcement to support Brennan and rebuke Trump, including 12 former senior US intelligence officials, who released a joint statement condemning Trump's decision, calling it "baseless."

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared after Brennan on "Meet the Press" to call him a "totally unhinged character who shouldn't have a security clearance."

National Security adviser John Bolton backed the move in an interview with ABC News' "This Week," telling host Martha Raddatz he didn't see "anything wrong" with reviewing the current standards for security clearances.

RELATED: Former CIA Director John Brennan through the years

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Former CIA Director John Brennan through the years
CIA Director John Brennan speaks at a forum about "CIA's strategy in the face of emerging challenges" at The Brookings Institution in Washington, U.S. July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) speaks as Acting CIA Director Michael Morell (R) and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan (2nd L) listen while making personnel announcements during an event in the East Room at the White House, on January 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama has nominated Hagel for the next Secretary of Defense and Brennan to become the new director of the CIA. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
James Clapper (R), Director of National Intelligence, testifies alongside CIA Director John Brennan (L), during a US House Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 10, 2015. The committee held the hearing to examine worldwide cyber threats. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan (L), U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be CIA director, meets with U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) at Feinstein's office at Hart Senate Office Building January 31, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Brennan met with Feinstein who will hold a hearing to start the confirmation process of Brennan's nomination. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Anti-war protesters shout slogans as John Brennan (R), President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA, arrives to testify before a full committee hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
John Brennan, US President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA, testifies before a full committee hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 12: CIA Director John Brennan testifies during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States' on Tuesday, March 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 08: General Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (L); John O. Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (C); and Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (R), take part in a question-and-answer forum during the International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) on August 8, 2013 in New York City. The ICCS, which is co-hosted by Fordham University and the FBI, is held every 18 months; more than 25 countries are represented at this year's conference. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan delivers remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations March 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Brennan denied accusations by U.S. senators who claim the CIA conducted unauthorized searches of computers used by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staff members in an effort to learn how the committee gained access to the agencyÃs own 2009 internal review of its detention and interrogation program, undermining Congressà oversight of the spy agency. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan speaks during a press conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, December 11, 2014. The head of the Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged Thursday some agency interrogators used 'abhorrent' unauthorized techniques in questioning terrorism suspects after the 9/11 attacks. CIA director John Brennan said there was no way to determine whether the methods used produced useful intelligence, but he strongly denied the CIA misled the public. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - SEPTEMBER 10: CIA Director John Brennan testifies during a House Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Cyber Security and the threat of Cyber Attacks in Washington, USA on September 10, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Former CIA director John Brennan testifies before the House Intelligence Committee to take questions on ?Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign? in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Former CIA director John Brennan testifies before the House Intelligence Committee to take questions on ?Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign? in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Former CIA director John Brennan is sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee to take questions on ?Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign? in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan participates in a session at the third annual Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, DC, U.S. on September 8, 2016. To match Special Report USA-CIA-BRENNAN/ REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo
CIA Director John Brennan arrives at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "diverse mission requirements in support of our National Security", in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
CIA Director John Brennan testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "diverse mission requirements in support of our National Security", in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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"In a time when we're seeing what I believe are unprecedented leaks of highly classified information," Bolton said. "To look at the question of how many people have clearances, how many people receive this very sensitive information ... I don't see that there would be anything wrong if it were determined to go that way to review the policies about former officials having clearances."

Brennan's comments come a day after Trump lashed out at him on Twitter, calling the former CIA director a "political hack," three days after he revoked his security clearance.

"Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA Director?" Trump wrote. "He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!"

In an op-ed for The New York Times published last week, Brennan wrote that Trump's maintenance of innocence in the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe was "in a word, hogwash," and he was lashing out through security clearances as he "has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him."

Watch Brennan's full interview below:

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