Senate Republicans push for Joe Biden to receive intelligence briefings, will they also support Donald Trump?
President Donald Trump’s continued efforts in blocking the entry of the next administration in the White House have put the Republican Party in an uneasy situation. While not many of the chamber’s members have congratulated Joe Biden after he was projected to be the winner by various media outlets, a number of them are also giving hints that they are in favor of the former vice president receiving intelligence briefings as part of the transition.
Oklahoma Senator James Lankford is one of the members who is in favor of the Biden team getting access. The politician told the media at the Capitol a couple of days ago that just like in 2000 when both presidential candidates got the briefings, Trump and Biden should see the same. The election that year was disputed before Al Gore conceded to George W Bush. The senator also noted a key concern is linked to the 9/11 Commission, which had said a lack of cooperation during the 2000 transition might have hurt preparations that could have thwarted the horrendous terrorist attacks.
“We should be in the same posture that we were in throughout the whole campaign, with both of them receiving briefings,” Lankford said. He also said that he would look into the matter if the General Services Administration (GSA) refuses to begin the intelligence briefings for Biden as part of the transition. The GSA is yet to “ascertain” the winner of the election and the state department has also stopped short of facilitating the transition.
The former vice president, who served as Barack Obama’s deputy till not long ago, received intelligence briefings as a candidate but they were limited. Lankford though spoke about the Democratic president-elect receiving briefings as a candidate but did not give details about whether he should get a more expanded briefing in the capacity of a president-elect. The 52-year-old lawmaker, despite his claim that Biden is the likely winner, has also backed Trump saying he wanted to support the incumbent to exhaust his legal challenges.
The GOP is worried that dumping Trump at this hour could seriously annoy his supporters, leading to an erosion of the party’s political base and even loss of some seats.
Senators like Cornyn, Graham also feel Joe Biden should get briefings
Republican Texas John Cornyn felt the information needed to be communicated in some form. “I think he should get the information. ... I just think it's part of the transition. And if in fact he does win in the end, I think they need to be able to hit the ground running,” National Public Radio quoted the senator, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as saying.
Other GOP senators like Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) and Roy Blunt (Missouri) also expressed similar concerns. Mike Rounds, the senator from South Dakota, told Capitol Hill reporters: “I do think they're gonna have to work that out in very short order.”
Josh Hawley, the senator from Missouri also felt Biden should also be getting the briefings. He told the media: “At this point, at least, I think he should absolutely be getting intelligence briefings. The briefings he's been getting as a candidate should continue.”
Only four Republican senators have congratulated Biden so far and they are -- Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Nebraska), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine). All of them have known to be in disagreement with Trump on issues over the last four years.