US President-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris have received a briefing from the national security experts about the diplomatic, defence and intelligence challenges facing the country. The US government agency that launches the transition process – the General Services Administration (GSA), headed by a Trump appointee – has not yet recognised Democrats Biden and Harris as winners of the November 3 presidential election.
The administrator of the GSA, Emily W Murphy, an appointee of incumbent Republican president Donald Trump, has so far refused to take the legally necessary step to begin the transition process, which would give Biden’s team a budget, intelligence briefings and access to federal agencies. The Biden-Harris Transition said on Tuesday that the experts briefed them on the diplomatic, defence and intelligence challenges the administration will inherit on day one, focusing on both the strategic landscape as well as the readiness of our foreign policy and national security departments and agencies.
Such a briefing comes in the absence of an official daily intelligence briefing by the outgoing Trump administration to Biden and Harris. Since President Donald Trump has refused to concede the November 3 election, the administration is unable to provide the daily intelligence and national security briefing to Biden and Harris.
Trump has launched a slew of lawsuits in key states, but has not provided any evidence to back his claims of fraud. The broader Biden Transition Team will continue to hear from distinguished former practitioners, especially as the lack of GSA ascertainment prevents the Transition from meeting with and hearing from the current Executive Branch officials, including on pressing matters of national security and foreign policy.
Participants in the briefing were General (rtd) Lloyd Austin, Tony Blinken, Nicholas Burns, David Cohen, Avril Haines, Kathleen Hicks, General (rtd) Stanley McChrystal, Admiral (rtd) William McRaven, Carmen Middleton, Samantha Power, Lieutenant General (rtd) Vincent Stewart, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Robert Work. To answer these twin challenges, we are going to need to reinvigorate our democracy and that we have a foreign policy that reflects their values and their needs. I think we have to renew America’s leadership and put the United States back at the head of the table, Biden said at the top of the briefing.
We are going to focus on readiness for whatever may come and that’s why I have asked you all to brief me on what you see as the biggest challenges we face and how to make sure that our diplomacy, our military meet these crises. I am not being critical, to state the obvious, you know, I am unable to get the briefings that ordinarily would come by now. So I just wanted to get your input on what you see ahead. To state the obvious, there’s no presidential responsibility more important than protecting the American people, so I appreciate you taking your time and I am anxious to hear what you all have to say,” Biden added.