A number of Republican senators said Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden should begin receiving classified intelligence information routinely provided to the new president, despite the Trump administration’s refusal to allow such a process.
It was the latest sign that while GOP lawmakers will not explicitly say that Biden won the election, they will publicly conclude that President Donald Trump has lost – and that the flood of lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign are almost certainly doomed.
But the Republicans denied this notion, arguing that both could be the case: Biden may receive daily Presidential Intelligence briefings as if he were the elected president, but they also say he is not the winner because the Trump campaign is not yet over.
“I never said that he was President Elect Biden. He is Joe Biden,” said Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), who vowed to take a more practical approach to ensure that Biden receives the necessary briefings if the government agency overseeing the transition process is not active by Friday.
Lankford, however, questioned the election results, which had been demanded for Biden on Saturday by major television stations and news agencies.
“We have no answer,” he continued. “We will know when everything is confirmed in the coming days. But there are still many questions and in the states that are still unsolved.”
Top Republicans, including such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have doubled and tripled their numbers because they refused to acknowledge Trump’s loss amidst campaign complaints that were aimed at overturning the results. The president and his conservative allies have made allegations – without evidence – that point to widespread electoral fraud, even though the campaign was unable to present convincing evidence in court.
A Trump-appointed employee of the General Services Administration (GSA) refuses to recognize Biden as the victor until a “clear” winner is determined. As a result, resources for the transition, such as more sensitive briefings, are held back. If the GSA were allowed to proceed as if Biden had won, this would mean that the Trump administration would admit defeat.
After all, the Republicans in the Senate need Trump’s supporters to win two runoffs in the Georgian Senate and retain control of the upper budget. An Irking of the president could endanger the critical support of his supporters in the peach state.
Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said Trump should challenge the results where he sees fit, but the country must also “prepare for the possibility – if not the likelihood – that there will be a President Biden. However, he refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory.
“I think that he should be granted all the privileges and responsibilities of transition, frankly, I really think so. I have instructed my staff to be cooperative,” Cramer told Washington Newsday. “There’s no reason why either can’t happen. By both, I mean that you can compete where it is appropriate, but you also have to prepare for the eventuality… if Joe Biden wins, we would want him to be up to speed on all the things that plague our world.
Lankford and Cramer were not alone among their Republican counterparts when they demanded that Biden receive more secret briefings. Several others, including Attorney General Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Majority Whip John Thune (S.D.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Cornyn (Texas), Rob Portman (Ohio), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), said they would support such a move.
“I don’t see this as a risky proposal. I just think it is part of the transition,” Cornyn said. “And if he actually wins in the end, I think they need to be able to get started right away.
The Democrats suggested that the Republicans who are demanding that Biden be given the elected president’s intelligence, a commonplace event for transitional administrations to date, are very small. Senator Tim Kaine noted, for example, that agencies throughout the federal government generally offer full cooperation. For the transition of an elected president, resources amounting to millions are made available, e.g. for the financing of personnel.
“I think it’s such a tiny thing to say that he’s doing information briefings