Senate Dems urge Trump to give Biden team access to national security briefings

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team are continuing to push for access to national security briefings and the country’s efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Democrats, including Sen. Ed Markey, are also advocating in Biden’s favor, hoping his team will be up to speed before Jan. 20 and there will be a seamless transition of power.

Markey, D-Massachusetts, said by providing Biden with the tools he needs to succeed as president, it will “make it clear that we’re one people and all information is being shared.”

But President Donald Trump and his administration continue to throw up road blocks, refusing to initiate the traditional transition briefings for the incoming president’s team on national security and policy issues.

“It raises the risk,” Markey said of Biden being denied access. “This transition is something that powers around the world who are not our allies will try to take advantage of.”

Trump is also blocking Biden’s team from being briefed on efforts to control the pandemic and distribute prospective vaccines.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said. “If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month, month-and-a-half.”

Trump has yet to concede the election, however, tweeted Sunday morning that Biden only won
“in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA” because “this was a RIGGED ELECTION!”

Markey said Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election is only making things worse.

“The only people who haven’t accepted it are the President of the United States, his White House staff, and unfortunately, too many of his Republican allies here on Capitol Hill,” Markey said.

Some Senate Republicans are also calling for Biden to receive access to those briefings, which is traditionally provided during a presidential transition.

“Since this past summer, Joe Biden and President Trump, who always receives it, have received intelligence briefings every day,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, said. “That’s now stopped for Joe Biden. I think we should continue that, because we still don’t know who the president is going to be at this point.”

But other Republicans, including House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, argue Biden’s transition can wait.

“He’s not president right now,” McCarthy, R-California, said. “We don’t know if he’ll be president on Jan. 20.”

Biden said it would be a “shame” if his team had to wait until Inauguration Day to access the federally-appropriated transition resources, but acknowledged that with Trump, “maybe that’s the only way to get it done.”

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