Joe Biden should start getting access to intel, Senate Republicans say

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Top Republican senators say presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden deserves to get access to presidential-level intelligence even as President Trump contests the 2020 election results in court.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who said Thursday the election is “not over,” also said it was time for Mr. Biden to start getting security briefings.

“I think so, yeah,” the South Carolina Republican said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who chairs the Senate’s chief oversight committee, are also among those who said Thursday they have no problem with Mr. Biden’s getting intel briefings.

“I think the information needs to be communicated in some way,” said Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican. “I’m on the intelligence committee; we don’t get the [President’s Daily Brief] but we get products, intelligence products, and I think he should get the information.”

The General Services Administration has not yet acknowledged that Mr. Biden is the “apparent” winner of the election, which would unlock additional resources and access to staff for the transition.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said this week that it has to get approval from the GSA before moving forward with aspects of the presidential transition.

Mr. Biden said earlier this week that the PDB would be nice to have but that it’s not a necessary part of the transition.

“I’m not the sitting president now,” he said.

As the Democratic presidential nominee, Mr. Biden did receive intelligence briefings but they didn’t contain the level of information the president gets on a daily basis.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday he’s siding with comments from Mr. Biden on the matter.

“I’ll trust the intel community. He’s not president right now — don’t know if he’ll be president Jan. 20,” the California Republican told reporters. “But whoever is will get the information.”

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