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[UPDATE] Report: Defense Department Halts Briefings With Biden Transition Team

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WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - DECEMBER 16: Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (L) listens as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announces his nomination during a news conference at Biden's transition headquarters on December 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden made further announcements regarding his administration's cabinet choices including nominating former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to be Transportation Secretary. (Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images)
Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

Update: Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller released a statement after the Axios report was published asserting that the two-week pause was confirmed with the Biden transition team ahead of time and that regular meetings would begin again after the holidays.

Miller stated:

The Department of Defense will continue to provide all required support to the Agency Review Team (ART) to keep our nation and her citizens safe. As of today, we have supported 139 interviews sessions more than 200 DoD personnel, 161 requests for information, and disclosed thousands of pages of non-public and classified documents, exceeding prior transitions. At no time has the department canceled or declined any interview.

Our key focus in the next two weeks is supporting essential requests for information on [Operation Warp Speed] and COVID-19 information to guarantee a flawless transition. This is my major focus area.

After the mutually-agreed upon holiday pause, which begins tomorrow, we will continue with the transition and rescheduled meetings from today. Again, I remain committed to a full and transparent transition – this is what our nation expects and the DoD will deliver AS IT ALWAYS HAS.

Original Report: Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered the Department of Defense to stop holding briefings with the Biden transition team at least through the holidays.

Miller issued the order on Thursday evening without notifying the Biden transition team, according to Axios. A senior DoD official said that the pause in briefings would last two weeks, calling it “a simple delay of the last few scheduled meetings until after the new year.”

“We had fewer than two dozen remaining meetings on the schedule today and next week,” the official said, according to Axios. “The DoD staff working the meetings were overwhelmed by the number of meetings.”

“These same senior leaders needed to do their day jobs and were being consumed by transition activities,” the official added. “With the holidays we are taking a knee for two weeks. We are still committed to a productive transition.”

It is unclear whether President Donald Trump sought the delay or if Miller acted on his own to pause briefings with the Biden transition team.

The pause comes more than a week after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter announced that his “tax affairs” are under federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware.

“I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” Hunter said on Dec. 9. “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”

Additional reporting suggested that federal investigators are focusing on Hunter’s business dealings in China. Hunter and several business partners attempted to strike a deal with Chinese Energy Company CEFC in 2017 to set up a joint venture called Sinohawk Holdings. The venture never took off and there were never any payments made between CEFC and Sinohawk.

Trump has considered pushing for a special counsel to take up the investigation into Hunter, which would insulate the probe from  an incoming Biden administration.

One of Hunter’s former business partners, Anthony Bobulinski, has claimed that the Democratic presidential candidate stood to benefit from his son’s business dealings in China. He told the New York Post in an article published on Oct. 22:

What I am outlining is fact. I know it is fact because I lived it. I am the CEO of Sinohawk Holdings which was a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family. I was brought into the company to be the CEO by James Gilliar and Hunter Biden. The reference to “the Big Guy” in the much publicized May 13, 2017 email is in fact a reference to Joe Biden. The other “JB” referenced in that email is Jim Biden, Joe’s brother.

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