06 February 2021

Biden uncomfortable with allowing Trump to continue receiving intelligence briefings

06 February 2021

President Joe Biden has said Donald Trump should not be allowed to receive classified intelligence briefings, a courtesy that historically has been granted to outgoing presidents.

Asked in an interview with CBS News what he feared if Mr Trump continued to receive the briefings, Mr Biden said he did not want to “speculate out loud” but made clear he did not want Mr Trump to continue receiving them.

“I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Mr Biden said. “What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this week the issue of granting Mr Trump intelligence briefings was “something that is under review”.

Biden (AP)

Some Democratic politicians, and even some former Trump administration officials, have questioned the wisdom of allowing Mr Trump to continue to briefed.

Susan Gordon, who served as the principal deputy director of national intelligence during the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019, in a Washington Post op-ed last month urged Mr Biden to cut off Mr Trump.

“His post-White House ‘security profile’, as the professionals like to call it, is daunting,” Ms Gordon wrote days after a pro-Trump mob laid siege to the US Capitol as legislators sought to certify his defeat in last November’s election.

“Any former president is by definition a target and presents some risks. But a former president Trump, even before the events of last week, might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent.”

Whether to give a past president intelligence briefings is solely the current officeholder’s prerogative. Mr Biden voiced his opposition to giving Mr Trump access to briefings as the former Republican president’s second impeachment trial is set to begin next week.

On Friday, however, Mr Biden said his hesitance to allow Mr Trump access to the briefings was due to the former president’s “erratic behaviour unrelated to the insurrection.”

There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing

Ms Gordon also raised concerns about Mr Trump’s business entanglements. The real estate tycoon saw his business founder during his four years in Washington and is weighed down by significant debt, reportedly about 400 million dollars (£291 million).

During the election campaign Mr Trump called his debt load a “peanut” and said he did not owe any money to Russia.

“Trump has significant business entanglements that involve foreign entities,” Ms Gordon wrote. “Many of these current business relationships are in parts of the world that are vulnerable to intelligence services from other nation-states.”

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also urged Mr Biden to cut off briefings for Mr Trump.

“There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing,” Mr Schiff said soon before Mr Trump ended his term last month.

“I don’t think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future.”

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