President Joe Biden told CBS News in an interview set to air Sunday that he doesn’t believe former President Trump should continue to receive the same classified intelligence briefings that have typically been offered to former U.S. presidents once they leave office.
Biden, asked by CBS News reporter Norah O’Donnell whether Trump should continue to have access to the intelligence briefings, remarked simply: “I think not.” Once O’Donnell pressed him on the idea further, Biden said it was because of Trump’s “erratic behavior.”
BIDEN: Because of his erratic behavior, unrelated to the insurrection.
O’DONNELL: I mean, you’ve called him an existential threat, you’ve called him dangerous, you’ve called him reckless —
BIDEN: Yeah I have, and I believe it.
O’DONNELL: What’s your worst fear if he continues to get these intelligence briefings?
BIDEN: I’d rather not speculate out loud. I just think that there’s no need for him to have the intelligence briefing. What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?
Five days before Trump left office, Susan M. Gordon, principal deputy director for national intelligence between 2017 and 2019, argued that Trump shouldn’t be given access to regular classified briefings because of his “post-White House security profile.” Gordon, who noted that all former presidents can be targeted by bad actors, argued that Trump would be “unusually vulnerable” to them because he wants to stay “engaged in politics and policy.”
“In addition, Trump has significant business entanglements that involve foreign entities. Many of these current business relationships are in parts of the world that are vulnerable to intelligence services from other nation-states. And it is not clear that he understands the tradecraft to which he has been exposed, the reasons the knowledge he has acquired must be protected from disclosure, or the intentions and capabilities of adversaries and competitors who will use any means to advance their interests at the expense of ours,” wrote Gordon for The Washington Post.
Gordon argued that Trump can always receive classified information on a “need to know” basis, should it serve the U.S. at “some point in the future.”
Currently, the other four living U.S. presidents — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — receive the intelligence briefings as a courtesy and in case an incumbent president wants advice, reports The New York Times.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the idea of withholding intelligence briefings from Trump was “under review.” Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been more definitive on the topic.
“There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future,” Schiff told CBS News’ “Face The Nation” host Margaret Brennan, who asked whether he would advise the White House to end Trump’s access to intelligence briefings. “I don’t think he can be trusted with it now and in the future, he certainly can’t be trusted. Indeed, there were, I think, any number of intelligence partners of ours around the world who probably started withholding information from us because they didn’t trust the president would safeguard that information and protect their sources and methods. And that makes us less safe. We’ve seen this president politicize intelligence, and that’s another risk to the country.”
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