Joe Biden thinks he is president-elect, the media says he is, and Biden’s huge “Office of the President-Elect” sign says so in big, bold letters, but the fact is – he is NOT. As I have shown earlier, no one has yet been certified as president-elect in this election.
This is why, as I have noted, the Trump administration has stated it will not provide Biden any intelligence briefs until the election is officially decided. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued a statement that said it will not have any official interactions with the so-called Biden “transition” until the General Services Administration (GSA) decides on a winner.
This official process, called “ascertainment,” is required by the 60-year-old Presidential Transition Act.
But now, says the media, some Republican lawmakers are suggesting Trump should give Biden these intelligence briefings. Even saying that the GOP leaders are “split” on this issue. Really? Not so fast.
Upon closer examination, CNN could only come up with three examples of GOP Senators who, when asked by CNN, said they might be ok with giving Biden intelligence briefings anytime soon.
CNN noted that Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said of Biden, “Whether he actually gets the product itself I think the information needs to be communicated in some way. I’m on the intelligence committee, we don’t get the PBR but we get products, intelligence products. I think he should get the information.”
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) reported CNN, said something similar, “Well, I think that it probably makes sense to prepare for all contingencies… I think it’s important from a national security standpoint, continuity. And you’ve seen other members suggesting that. I think that makes sense.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also told CNN, “Yeah, I think he should,” adding that “I hope so,’ when asked if he expects Biden to get the briefings soon.”
Meanwhile, notes The Blaze, “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made it clear Thursday that he was against such a notion. When asked about the idea of Biden receiving intelligence briefings in the name of national security, the GOP leader suggested it is too soon to consider.”
“He’s not president right now,” McCarthy replied, according to Newsweek.
Since only four of 53 GOP senators have congratulated Biden on his projected win, it’s doubtful there are many more Republican Senators supporting this idea.
Ultimately, it’s a judgment call by the president whether to give Biden the briefings even if he is not certified president-elect. But why should he? Does national security really require such an early start to briefings of a potential president-elect?
During the 2000 Gore-Bush election contest, which I was involved in as part of the Bush Florida Recount Team, vote recounts in that state meant the winner was not decided until well after Thanksgiving – on Dec. 13.
And in that case, GW Bush did not get the intelligence briefings from the Clinton White House until early December, said David Priess, a former CIA officer and author of “The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents from Kennedy to Obama.”
So, perhaps – not so fast. Trump should follow that precedent and not give Biden intelligence briefings until he is duly ascertained and certified as the president-elect.
The world didn’t end in 2000 with GW Bush not getting briefed till December. Biden can now wait that long too.