The White House has said Joe Biden will not have the final say on whether Donald Trump can receive intelligence briefings after the president said his predecessor’s ‘erratic behavior’ means ‘he might slip and say something’.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki poured cold water on what had appeared to be Biden taking the unprecedented step to deny Trump access to classified information now he has left office.
Psaki said in a statement Saturday the president was merely ‘expressing his concern’ and will leave the final decision to his intelligence team.
‘The president was expressing his concern about former president Trump receiving access to sensitive intelligence, but he also has deep trust in his own intelligence team to make a determination about how to provide intelligence information if at any point the former president Trump requests a briefing,’ Psaki said, according to the Washington Post.
It is not clear when a final decision on the matter will be reached.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has not commented on the decision and did not immediately return DailyMail.com‘s request for comment.
The walkback from the Oval Office came after Biden said in an interview with CBS Evening News Friday night he did not think Trump should receive intelligence briefings citing the ex-president’s ‘erratic behavior’.
‘I think not,’ he said. When asked why, Biden said: ‘Because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection.’
Biden said he would ‘rather not speculate out loud’ what his worst fear is if Trump is given access to the highly sensitive information but said there is ‘no need’ for him to be involved now he has left office.
‘I would rather not speculate out loud. I just think there is no need for him to have that intelligence briefing?’ he said.
‘What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than he might slip and say something?’
Psaki had also indicated in Monday’s press briefing that the Biden administration was evaluating whether or not to allow Trump to receive the briefings.
‘This is a good question,’ said Psaki. ‘It’s something that’s obviously under review.’
It has become tradition for former presidents to be granted routine intelligence briefings and access to classified information once they leave office.
The intel is not at the very highest levels which is reserved for the current officeholder only but are still delivered by current intelligence officers.
The move is said to enable outgoing presidents to continue to support the nation’s interests.
But it is an honor granted out of respect by the new president to their predecessor and the administration has the power to decide whether or not to allow ex-presidents access.
No other president has ever said no to allowing the tradition to continue but, in Trump’s case, the briefings would go to a former president who left the White House in a blaze of breaking with traditions.
He refused to concede to Biden when he lost the presidential election and then refused to attend the inauguration – the first time an outgoing president did this in more than 150 years.
Trump also spent his final months in the White House pushing unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud and telling his supporters the election was ‘stolen’ from him.
This culminated in the January 6 riot where a MAGA mob stormed the US Capitol in a violent siege that left five – including a Capitol cop – dead.
Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is set to begin on Tuesday after he became the first president to be impeached by the House twice in the nation’s history for his part in ‘inciting’ the riot.
Biden’s comments about Trump letting something ‘slip’ indicate his reasoning for denying the former president access to classified information was not driven by the events that brought about impeachment.
In the days between the MAGA mob riot and Biden’s inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised concerns about Trump having access to the nuclear codes.
On January 8 – two days on from the riot – Pelosi took the unprecedented step of calling the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and asking the Pentagon to take ‘available precautions’ to st… (Read more)
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