More Senate Republicans say Biden should start receiving classified briefings

More Senate Republicans say Biden should start receiving classified briefings

November 12, 2020

There’s ‘legitimate’ divide in Democratic Party: Hemingway

The Federalist senior editor and Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway reacts to the ideological battle brewing in the Democratic Party.

A growing number of Senate Republicans this week have said that President-elect Joe Biden should begin receiving classified briefings, even as President Trump has refused to concede and as the General Services Administration has yet to officially ascertain the former vice president’s transition.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Thursday told reporters on Capitol Hill that she believes it is time for Biden to begin receiving briefings.

“If you’re going to ask me if Joe Biden should get classified briefings, the answer is yes,” Collins said.

Asked again whether she believed he should, she replied: “Yes.”

Collins comments came after Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said this week that Biden should receive intelligence briefings by Friday, noting that if he does not, he is prepared to “step in.”

FILE – In this June 30, 2020, file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Collins running for reelection to represent Maine in the Senate in the Nov. 3 general election. (Al Drago/Pool via AP, File)

“There is no loss from him getting the briefings,” Lankford said in an interview on KMRG radio. “And to be able to do that, and if that’s not occurring by Friday I will step in as well, and to be able to push and say this needs to occur so that regardless of the outcome of the election…people can be ready for that actual task.”

Lankford, on Thursday, noted that Trump, who has been receiving briefings each day of his presidency, and Biden, have been receiving briefings since the convention.

“So that’s continued throughout the campaign, that’s not stopped for Joe Biden,” Lankford explained. “I think we should continue that because we still don’t know who the president is going to be at this point.”

He added: “And so we should be in the same posture that we ran throughout the whole campaign—both of them receiving briefings, as they're both trying to be able to prepare.”

FILE: Nov. 13, 2013: Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.

Lankford said that he would reach out to the GSA, but noted that they “have to make their decision about what they’re going to do.”

The GSA has not yet made an "ascertainment" decision – the formal declaration set up by the 1963 Presidential Transition Act. Until that ascertainment is made, the Biden team can not formally begin the transition process. The delay is costing the Biden team access to more than $6 million in federal funding, security clearances and the ability to meet with officials at intelligence agencies.

The GSA has defended its precedent, which it said was “established by the Clinton Administration in 2000.”

A GSA spokesperson told Fox News that an ascertainment has not yet been made and that the GSA and its administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law. 

“In accordance with the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (PTA), as amended, the GSA administrator ascertains the apparent successful candidate once a winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution,” the spokesperson said. “The administrator’s ascertainment is done for the purposes of making services provided by the PTA available.”

The spokesperson added: “Until an ascertainment is made, the statute allows for the Biden Transition Team to continue to receive the pre-elect services from the government (e.g., limited office space, computers, background investigations for security clearances). GSA has met all statutory requirements under the PTA for this election cycle and will continue to do so.”

But a Biden-Harris transition spokesperson told Fox News that the transition "is moving forward with preparations so that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are ready to lead our country on day one and meet the pressing challenges facing our nation." 

"Now that the outcome of the election is clear, the GSA administrator should move quickly to ascertain the results and send a clear signal that she will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power," the spokesperson told Fox News. 

Meanwhile, the president has yet to concede the election, despite the Fox News Decision Desk and other media outlets calling the race in favor of Biden on Saturday, after determining he had enough electoral votes to push him beyond the 270 threshold needed to win the presidency. 

The Trump campaign has mounted legal battles in a number of key battleground states, urging recounts and claiming fraud and alleging that poll watchers were blocked from watching counting. 

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