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DJ Biden Says Trump Shouldn't Get Intelligence Briefings -- Update

· 02/05/2021 19:40
By Catherine Lucey

WASHINGTON -- President Biden said that former President Donald Trump shouldn't have access to intelligence briefings due to his "erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection."

Mr. Biden told CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell that he saw no reason for his predecessor to get briefings, saying: "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?"

CBS released excerpts of the interview, which will air in full Sunday, on Friday evening.

Representatives for Mr. Trump didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this week that Mr. Biden's national security team was looking into whether to extend intelligence briefings to Mr. Trump.

"It's something, obviously, that's under review, but there was not a conclusion last I asked them about it," Ms. Psaki said.

Mr. Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives on a charge that he incited an insurrection last month at the U.S. Capitol. Rioters breached the building on Jan. 6 after Mr. Trump encouraged them to march there and to pressure Congress to overturn Mr. Biden's win.

Susan Gordon, who served as the principal deputy director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019, wrote in the Washington Post last month that every modern president has received access to intelligence briefings and classified information after leaving office, but she recommended that the privilege not be afforded to Mr. Trump.

"With this simple act -- which is solely the new president's prerogative -- Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen," she wrote.

The briefings for former presidents occur at the sole discretion of the sitting president and while they do contain classified information, they don't have the highest level of secrets contained in the President's Daily Brief, said David Priess, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who briefed the late President George H.W. Bush years after he left office.

Mr. Priess said the briefings of past presidents occur for two reasons. If current presidents want to reach out to a predecessor, it makes those conversations more worthwhile if that predecessor is up to speed on current intelligence. Secondly, former presidents sometimes travel overseas in semiofficial roles.

In the case of Mr. Trump, "Both reasons to do it fall apart," Mr. Priess said. Mr. Biden is unlikely to reach out to Mr. Trump for advice on world events, nor is Mr. Trump likely to be seen as a Biden representative if he travels abroad, Mr. Priess said.

Warren Strobel contributed to this article.

Write to Catherine Lucey at catherine.lucey@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 05, 2021 19:40 ET (00:40 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.