Senator Chuck Grassley said Joe Biden should be given access to intelligence briefings, which he has been shut out of since becoming president-elect as Donald Trump’s administration refuses to acknowledge his victory.
‘I would think – especially on classified briefings – the answer is yes,’ Grassley told a reporter on Capitol Hill Thursday, adding he ‘sees no problems’ with Biden receiving briefings.
Grassley, who is President Pro Tempore of the Senate and has served in Congress since 1975, is joining other Republicans who feel Biden should be given these classified briefings to prepare for a potential transition.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he’s not in a rush like some of his Republican colleagues to get Biden access to the briefings.
‘I’ll trust the intel community,’ McCarthy said during a press conference Thursday. ‘He’s not president right now, don’t know if he’ll be president January 20, but whoever is will get the information.’
Karl Rove, who served as senior advisor and deputy chief of staff during the George W. Bush’s administration, outlined Thursday that Biden had won the election and that the transition should begin.
‘Once his days in court are over, the president should do his part to unite the country by leading a peaceful transition and letting grievances go,’ Rove wrote in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal.
Republican Senator James Lankford said Wednesday he is preparing to step in if Biden is not given access to daily intelligence briefings by the end of the week.
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Chuck Grassley said Thursday that Joe Biden should be given access to the daily confidential intelligence briefings given to the president as he prepares to transition
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he’s not in a rush to get Biden access to intelligence briefings. ‘He’s not president right now, don’t know if he’ll be president January 20, but whoever is will get the information,’ he said, casting doubt on the outcome of the election
Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said Wednesday he would step in if Joe Biden is not granted access to the daily presidential intelligence briefing by the end of the week
He told radio station KRMG in an interview that there’s no harm in Biden participating even if it turns out he didn’t win the election.
‘There is no loss from him getting the briefings and to be able to do that,’ Lankford, who sits on the Senate Oversight Committee, told the radio station.
The senator from Oklahoma added that if no headway is made with Biden receiving access to the daily presidential intelligence briefings, then he would intervene and say, ‘This needs to occur so that regardless of the outcome of the election, whichever way that it goes, people can be ready for that actual task.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with Vice President Biden getting the briefings to be able to prepare himself and so that he can be ready – the President’s already getting those,’ Lankford said, adding that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, already a senator from California, has the appropriate clearances to begin receiving briefings because she serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Lankford, however, has still not admitted that Biden won the presidency and has cast doubt on the legitimacy of his victory.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, the third-top ranking Republican, also believes it’s time for Biden to receive briefings.
‘Well, I think that it probably makes sense to prepare for all contingencies,’ the South Dakota Republican said.
Senator Lindsey Graham also agreed Biden should begin getting security briefings.
‘I think so, yes,’ he said.
It appears to be a general consensus among most Republican lawmakers that it would be appropriate for the intelligence community to begin providing Biden with briefings to update him on classified matters.
Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday that he has ‘no problem with’ Biden receiving the briefings as he prepares for his transition to the White House.
‘In general from what I’ve seen from intelligence briefings they’re really not worth a whole lot,’ he added, claiming they ‘don’t have much value.’
McCarthy, however, said he is not inclined to think it’s too critical that Biden be lumped into these classified briefings.
During his weekly press conference Thursday he quoted Biden’s stance on the matter in saying, ‘Look, access to classified information is useful, but I’m not in a position to make any decisions on those issues anyway. So, as I said, one president at a time. He will be president until January 20. It’d be nice to have it, but it’s not critical.’
‘I think I kind of stand with Joe Biden,’ McCarthy said.
President Donald Trump’s administration has not yet allowed the president-elect access to the daily briefings as they continue to draw into question the integrity of the election and have questioned whether Democrats cheated or ‘stole’ the presidency for Biden.
Administrator of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, has not yet ascertained the election, which typically happens following the election and allows the president-elect to receive the same briefings as the president.
It remains unclear if she needs to ascertain the election before Biden can legally receive the briefings.
Grassley said, when asked if the GSA should sign off on the paperwork to allow for the transition, that ‘we ought to do what we did’ after the contested 2000 election.
Trump has still not conceded to Biden, and neither Grassley nor Lankford admitted the Democrat is the president-elect
Biden has said the briefings ‘would be useful, but it’s not necessary.’
Lankford said rather than knowing who the winner is quickly, it’s more important that voters, especially Republicans, who supported their candidate get answers to questions they might have about the results and how they were reached.
‘It is important for the 71-million plus people that voted for President Trump that at the end of it, they know all of their questions were answered,’ Lankford said. ‘And that there is a president that was actually duly elected.’
Most major media outlets, including the Associated Press, called the election for the former vice president over the weekend – shortly thereafter, Biden declared victory. The call came after a few key states, including Pennsylvania, projected their Electoral College votes would go to the Democratic ticket.
Republicans have cast doubt on the results, insisting there was funny business with the massive influx of mail-in ballots this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump and his aides, allies and most staunch supporters claim Democrats cheated by way of counting fraudulent mail-in ballots.
‘Joe Biden can continue to be able to function and say, ‘I’m the president-elect,’ and great if you want to say that, go do it, and to be able to do your preparation wor,’ Lankford said in his radio interview Wednesday. ‘The President can say, ‘Not so fast. I’ve got questions to answer.’ Great, go ask them.’
Lankford suggested if Trump is blocked from following through with its legal proceedings in several battleground states, it might stoke conspiracies among his supporters and further divide the country.
Many judges have already dismissed lawsuits the Trump campaign has filed in an attempt to raise questions of voting irregularities, fraud and suppression.
Elections experts make clear Biden’s margin of victory is too wide for court cases to reverse, but if a few key states were to overturn their Electoral College votes for the president, it’s still possible, but extremely unlikely, that he could take back the election.
Administrator of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy (pictured), has not yet ascertained the election, which is what is blocking Biden from receiving the briefings
The president said before Election Day that he would concede to Biden and peacefully transition power as long as he felt the election was free, fair and fraud-free.
‘I can assure you there will be a peaceful transition of power in the United States,’ Lankford reiterated to KRMG.
During a press conference earlier this week, a reporter asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if the State Department’s lull in transition efforts would harm national security.
‘There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,’ Pompeo said, implying he expects Trump to prevail despite already having lost the race.
The daily presidential intelligence briefings are highly classified and provide the president – and usually incoming president – about pressing national security issues.