The White House says intelligence officials will be the ones to determine whether Trump can access briefings

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US President Donald Trump looks down during an event on lowering prescription drug prices in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 20, 2020.

  • The White House says intelligence officials will decide if the former president can have briefings.
  • President Joe Biden says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
  • But Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden trusts his intelligence team to decide.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The White House said Saturday that intelligence officials, and not President Joe Biden, will ultimately be the ones to decide whether former President Donald Trump will have access to intelligence briefings.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki told The Washington Post that Biden “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.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment Saturday evening.

Psaki’s comments came just one day after CBS News asked Biden in an interview whether he believed Trump should receive the briefings.

“I think not,” Biden said. “Because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection.”

Read more: Biden says Trump shouldn’t receive intelligence briefings, citing ‘erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection’

“I just think that there’s no need for him to have the intelligence briefing,” Biden continued. “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?”

Former presidents are given regular access to classified information, usually as a courtesy or when sitting presidents request advice from their predecessors, according to The New York Times. These briefings are not the same as the daily intelligence briefing the sitting president receives.

Trump faced frequent criticism during his presidency over his handling of intelligence. He occasionally revealed classified information to the public, ignored intelligence about threats such as the coronavirus, or was otherwise inattentive or uncooperative when officials tried to brief him on important information.

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Biden says Trump shouldn’t receive intelligence briefings, citing ‘erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection’

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President Joe Biden

In an interview with CBS Evening News’ Norah O’Donnell, President Joe Biden said he doesn’t believe Trump should receive classified intelligence briefings.

During the interview, when O’Donnell asked the president’s opinion, he responded, “I think not,” adding, “Because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection.”

Currently, Trump can receive classified intelligence briefings, following a tradition carried on by former presidents. 

When pressed by O’Donnell, Biden said, “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?”

 

According to CNN, Trump has not submitted any requests for intelligence briefings from Mar-a-Lago yet. 

On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that, “the intelligence community supports requests for intelligence briefings by former presidents and will review any incoming requests, as they always have.”

Biden also declined to entertain questions about Trump’s upcoming second impeachment trial. In the past weeks, Biden has supported the start of the impeachment trial but remained coy during the interview in terms of how he would vote.

“Look, I ran like hell to defeat him because I thought he was unfit to be president,” Biden told CBS. “I’ve watched what everybody else watched, what happened when that – that crew invaded the United States Congress. But I’m not in the Senate now. I’ll let the Senate make that decision.”

In late January, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for inciting the insurrection, claiming that he was “singularly responsible” for the riots and disruption of a peaceful transfer of power.

When asked about his worst fear in terms of Trump receiving the intelligence briefings, Biden said, “I’d rather not speculate out loud. I think there is no need for him to get them.”

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