Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said President-elect Joe Biden needs to be receiving pertinent national security briefings ahead of taking office in January.
While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Graham said President Donald Trump may be challenging the 2020 presidential election results but that Biden should be given intelligence briefings right now.
“The president is contesting the election, and I would urge him to give intel briefings to Joe Biden,” he said.
“How much further to go? I don’t know. We’re going to be fine at the end of the day. This thing will work itself out,” Graham added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "The president is contesting the election and I would urge him to give intel briefings to Joe Biden." pic.twitter.com/SGuhHqnCQ6
— The Recount (@therecount) November 18, 2020
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said last week that it would not begin briefing the president-elect until the GSA had completed the “ascertainment” process to determine who won the election.
Meanwhile, the Trump appointee leading the General Services Administration has not yet certified the election results.
This would free up millions of dollars, access to government officials, office space in federal agencies, and taxpayer-funded equipment for Biden’s transition team.
Other Republicans have made similar calls as Graham.
“I would think — especially on classified briefings — answer is yes,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who as president pro tempore is the most senior Republican in the chamber.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota also told CNN that Biden should have access to classified briefings.
“Well, I think that it probably makes sense to prepare for all contingencies,” Thune said when asked if Biden should get briefings. “And as these election challenges play out in court, I don’t have a problem with, and 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. Rob Portman of Ohio, said, “yeah, I don’t think that would hurt,” for Biden to start getting the briefings.
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor that Trump was “100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declined to say if Biden should receive classified intelligence briefings.
When asked by CNN if he agrees with Grassley and Lankford, McCarthy instead cited an earlier quote by Biden himself, saying “access to classified information is useful but I’m not in a position to make any decision on those issues anyway” and that “it’d be nice to have. It’s not critical.”
“I think I got to stand with Joe Biden,” said McCarthy, a Republican from California. “He’s not president right now. I don’t know if he’ll be president on January 20th, but whoever is will get the information.”
Lankford said Wednesday that he will intervene if the Trump administration has not allowed Biden access to presidential daily intelligence briefings by the end of the week.
“There is no loss from him getting the briefings and to be able to do that,” Lankford told radio station KRMG, noting that he sits on a key committee related to government oversight and that he’s already started engaging on this issue.
Lankford said if no progress is made on the issue by Friday, he will step in 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.”