White House ‘Obviously’ Reviewing Trump’s Ongoing Intelligence Briefings: Jen Psaki
President Joe Biden’s national security team has not yet determined whether to continue controversial intelligence briefings for former President Donald Trump — but the policy is “obviously” under review, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.
Such briefings are typically extended to former presidents as a courtesy. Yet fears about providing Trump with classified intelligence have intensified since his supporters stormed the Capitol and the House impeached him for “incitement of insurrection.”
Critics also worry about Trump’s friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his apparent lack of concern about revealing classified information, and his business interests overseas that could create a dangerous conflict of interest.
NBC’s Geoff Bennett asked Psaki if Trump’s briefings would continue, since some Democrats are concerned that Trump would either “misuse” classified information “or leverage it to enrich himself.”
That’s a “good question,” Psaki responded. “It’s something that’s obviously under review, but there was not a conclusion the last time I asked” the national security team about it, she added.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said days before Trump was set to leave office that his briefings should immediately stop.
“There’s a grave danger of him inadvertently or willfully revealing classified information that would compromise sources and methods,” King told CNN. “And there is no upside. There is no reason that he needs to have this information.”
The Washington Post’s Shane Harris described the former president as a “classic counterintelligence risk.”
Former CIA officer David Priess, author of a book on presidential intelligence briefings, told the Post late last year, “Anyone who is disgruntled, dissatisfied or aggrieved is a risk of disclosing classified information, whether as a current or former officeholder. Trump certainly fits that profile.”
A former KGB major told The Guardian in an interview last week that Soviet and Russian intelligence cultivated Trump for decades and that Russian officials were thrilled by how well he parroted the talking points they pushed in the U.S.
Psaki was also asked Monday if her job is easier with the former president out of the way. “This may be hard to believe: We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about or talking about … former President Trump,” she responded. “We don’t miss him on Twitter.”
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