Biden, Harris receiving national security briefings from outside experts

The White House in Washington, D.C., is seen on Monday as the trees shed their leaves in the fall season. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
The White House in Washington, D.C., is seen on Monday as the trees shed their leaves in the fall season. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- After two weeks of stonewalling from the Trump administration, President-elect Joe Biden is now receiving national security briefings from a variety of experts outside government, transition officials say.

Traditionally, an incoming president will receive cooperation from the sitting president's government on many matters to mitigate complications for the transfer of power. President Donald Trump, however, has refused to concede that he lost the election and is not cooperating at all -- even though experts have said that's particularly dangerous in the middle of a deadly pandemic.


Transition officials said Tuesday that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris instead have received security assessments from "some of our country's most experienced national security experts about the challenges facing our country and our institutions."

Tuesday's meeting was conducted with the experts appearing remotely.

The security experts briefed the incoming leaders on the "diplomatic, defense, and intelligence challenges the administration will inherit on day one," transition officials said. They focused on "both the strategic landscape as well as the readiness of our foreign policy and national security departments and agencies."


"You know that I've been unable to get the briefing that ordinarily would have come by now," Biden said at the start of Tuesday's briefing. "So I just want to get your input on what you see ahead."

Among those participating in the briefing were former Deputy Secretary of State and deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken and former CIA Deputy Director Avril Haines.

Biden's transition team has been blocked from receiving briefings from any government agencies, including classified intelligence.

Part of the problem is that Emily Murphy, the Trump-appointed head of the General Services Administration, has still not affirmed, or "ascertained," Biden's electoral win and the transition. Doing so would unlock millions in federal funding that, by law, are earmarked for transfers of power.

Created in 1949, the GSA is supposed to be an independent support agency of the federal government.

Murphy's GSA has said it will make an ascertainment once there is a "clear" winner, although Biden is the projected winner by at least 20 electoral votes over the threshold required to win the presidency by virtually every major news outlet. Four years ago, there was no delay in ascertainment when Trump's margin of victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton was narrower than Biden's.


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