U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks during U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 13, 2020.
Tom Williams | Pool | Reuters
Top Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Thursday said President-elect Joe Biden should be receiving classified intelligence briefings from the Trump administration.
“I would think — especially on classified briefings — the answer is yes,” Grassley said when asked if Biden should have access to the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB, during his transition into the White House.
Spokesmen from the Trump and Biden campaigns did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment on Grassley’s remarks. The White House did not immediately provide comment.
NBC News and other outlets projected over the weekend that Biden would defeat President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. But Trump has not conceded, and the Democrat’s transition efforts have been stymied by a key federal agency’s refusal to sign a letter of “ascertainment” that acknowledges Biden as the winner.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence told NBC in a statement this week that it will not get involved with Biden’s transition efforts until that key agency, the General Services Administration, makes its determination.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked in a Fox News interview earlier Thursday whether Biden should be allowed to read the PDBs, said, “That would be a question more for the White House.”
Speaking to NBC later in the morning, McEnany added: “We are following all statutory requirements. That’s that.”
Grassley, the most senior Republican in the Senate and the chairman of its powerful Finance Committee, is not the only member of his party to insist Biden be granted access to the daily intelligence briefings. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said in a radio interview Wednesday that he would intervene if the president-elect is not receiving the briefings by the end of the week.
“If that’s not occurring by Friday, I will step in as well and to be able to push them 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,” said Lankford, who chairs a key oversight subcommittee on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel.
While a handful of Republicans in Congress have acknowledged Biden as president-elect, most have said that the Trump campaign is within its rights to pursue legal action in the battleground states that helped Biden win the election. The campaign has filed lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona — all states where Biden either leads Trump or is projected to win.
Trump, meanwhile, has amplified a barrage of conspiracy theories to suggest that widespread voter fraud has “rigged” the election against him. No evidence of widespread voter fraud has surfaced.