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Biden was given classified briefings as a candidate but those stopped once he became president-elect, and his status as a former vice president and former senator does not afford him access now.

The result is an awkward gap between what Biden and Harris know about the biggest national security threats facing the country, which the Biden White House will need to be prepared to respond to on Day One of the new administration. Harris is also legally prohibited from disclosing any classified information to Biden, leading to situations where she may have to censor herself when discussing sensitive foreign policy and national security issues around the president-elect.

In the unlikely scenario that Harris accidentally revealed something classified that she’d learned as part of a committee briefing, mishandling of classified information is technically punishable under the Espionage Act.

“Until Biden is inaugurated, he has no constitutional right to classified information and none of his conversations with Harris can venture into classified issues until they both finally start receiving classified briefings as part of the transition,” said national security lawyer Brad Moss. “There has never been an Espionage Act case against a sitting Member of Congress but no one wants to poke the 400-pound bear on this one and risk it either.”

A transition official emphasized to POLITICO on Thursday that Harris’s work on the Intelligence Committee “is entirely separate from her role as the Vice President-Elect. There is no co-mingling of those roles and responsibilities whatsoever.” The official noted that Harris, like Biden, “does not have access to the [President’s Daily Brief] or other information to which she is entitled as Vice President-elect because of the GSA’s failure to ascertain the results of the election.”

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The official added that the information Harris receives by virtue of her membership on the Senate Intelligence Committee “is not the same information” as what is in the PDB — a detailed and highly classified document, compiled each morning for the president, vice president, and their senior advisers by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, that outlines key national security threats and global hot spots.

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But Priess, who prepared the PDB for past presidents, noted that the top-line analytic judgments that make it into the document “would not be substantially different” from what is briefed to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The committee members typically see analysis “that is consistent with what is in the PDB,” Priess said. So while Harris cannot currently see that document, “she should be seeing the best judgments of the intelligence community and its respective agencies on most, if not all, of the same issues that appear in the PDB.” And she will be “certainly a lot better informed” on the most pressing issues than past vice presidents have been upon entering the White House, Priess said.

Still, the transition official indicated that Harris’ access to the latest intelligence as a member of SSCI, which is walled off from her work as vice president-elect, makes it no less urgent that Biden begin receiving full intelligence briefings and threat assessments.

“The 9/11 Commission Report found that the delayed 2000 transition significantly hampered the incoming administration’s ability to fill key appointments, including national security personnel, and left the country less prepared for a crisis. That’s why in the elections since, the transition process has begun almost immediately,” the official said. “It could also pose significant challenges to getting President-elect Biden’s team in place given the role of FBI background checks and security clearances for potential nominees and incoming national security officials.”


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Capitol Police turned attention from ’200’ Proud Boys gathered on Jan. 6, lawmaker says

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“Why did the department decide to monitor the … counterdemonstrators but apparently, according to this timeline, not to monitor the Proud Boys?” Lofgren asked Bolton. “What happened to these 200 Proud Boys over the course of the day?”

Bolton said he didn’t have the answer to Lofgren’s questions, but said he hoped to have answers after his next report.

“We have the same kind of concerns,” Bolton said.

He also questioned the timeline’s accuracy and said these questions were part of why he moved up a report on command and control and radio traffic to June from later this summer.

Representatives for the Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Evidence filed by the Justice Department suggests coordination between groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia network, ahead of then-President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rally. In a debate in September, when asked to condemn white supremacists, Trump called on the Proud Boys

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, a self-described “Western chauvinist” group, to “stand back” and “stand by.”

The department’s highest-ranking on-the-ground commander, Eric Waldow, urged officers to look out for anti-Trump demonstrators among the sprawling pro-Trump crowd, POLITICO previously reported. Lawmakers have expressed fears that the department didn’t take seriously enough the threat that pro-Trump extremists posed to Congress.

Bolton issued a report in April that found the department’s unit for responding to violent protests is antiquated enough that officers “actively find ways to circumvent getting assigned there.”

Bolton also said on Monday that the department didn’t “adequately” put out guidance for countersurveillance and threat assessment, and had communications procedures that could have “led to critical countersurveillance information not being appropriately communicated” in the department.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.


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Trump super PAC to hold first fundraiser at Bedminster

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A pro-Donald Trump super PAC is holding its first fundraising event on May 22 at the former president’s Bedminster golf club, according to two people familiar with the planning.

The event will benefit Make America Great Again Action, a super PAC spearheaded by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Trump is expected to attend the event, which will include reception and a dinner. The minimum price for entry is $250,000.

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Trump tapped Lewandowki earlier this year to oversee the super PAC as part of his post-White House political operation. It’s the second big money group Trump has formed. Shortly after the election, he launched Save America PAC, a leadership PAC that has raised tens of millions of dollars.


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Pierre ‘Pete’ du Pont IV dies; ran for president in 1988

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“I was born with a well-known name and genuine opportunity. I hope I have lived up to both,” du Pont said in announcing his longshot presidential bid in September 1986.

As a presidential candidate, du Pont attracted attention for staking out controversial positions on what he hoped would reverberate with voters as “damn right” issues. They included random drug testing for high school students, school vouchers, replacing welfare with work, ending farm subsidies, and allowing workers to invest in individual retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security.

Some of those ideas have since become more mainstream.

He won the endorsement of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper but failed to gain traction among voters. He ended his campaign after finishing next-to-last in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Afterward, du Pont remained engaged in politics. He frequently wrote opinion pieces for publications such as the Wall Street Journal and co-founded the online public policy journal IntellectualCapital.com. He also served as chairman of Hudson Institute, the National Review Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.

Pierre du Pont IV was born Jan. 22, 1935, in Delaware. After attending Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, he graduated from Princeton University in 1956 with an engineering degree. Following a four-year stint in the Navy, he obtained a law degree from Harvard University in 1963.

He joined the Du Pont Company, where he held several positions, resigning as a quality control supervisor in 1968 to begin his political career.

After running unopposed for a state House seat in 1968, he immediately set his sights on Congress, running as a fiscal conservative and winning the first of three terms in 1970.

Elected governor in 1976, du Pont fought successfully to restore financial integrity to a state he had declared “bankrupt” shortly after his inauguration. He presided over two income tax cuts; constitutional amendments restricting state spending and requiring three-fifths votes in the legislature to raise taxes; and establishment of an independent revenue forecasting panel.

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After a rocky start with Democratic legislators, including an embarrassing override of a 1977 budget veto, du Pont forged successful relationships with lawmakers from both parties to tackle thorny issues including prison overcrowding and corruption and school desegregation. He was re-elected in a landslide in 1980, winning a record 71 percent of the vote and becoming the first two-term governor in Delaware in 20 years.

In his second term, du Pont signed landmark legislation that loosened Delaware’s banking laws, including removing the cap on interest rates that banks could charge customers. The Financial Center Development Act made Delaware a haven for some of the country’s largest credit card issuers.

Under du Pont’s leadership, Delaware also established a nonprofit employment counseling and job placement program for Delaware high school seniors not bound for college. It served as the model for a national program adopted by several other states.

Prohibited by law from seeking a third term, du Pont briefly withdrew to the private sector, joining a Wilmington law firm in 1985. A year and a half later, he announced his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, becoming the first declared candidate in the 1988 campaign.

During an appearance at the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington, where du Pont announced he was abandoning his presidential campaign, he praised an electoral process that gave a shot at the White House to a former small-state governor with unorthodox ideas.

“You’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime. You listened, you considered and you chose. I could not have asked for any more,” du Pont said. “For in America, we do not promise that everyone wins, only that everyone gets a chance to try.”

Du Pont is survived by his wife of over 60 years, the former Elise R. Wood; a daughter and three sons; and 10 grandchildren.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a memorial service will be held at a later date, Perkins said.


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