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Biden says Trump shouldn’t get intelligence briefings due to ‘erratic behavior’

US president says he sees no value in his predecessor receiving classified information, adding that ‘he might slip and say something’

US President Joe Biden speaks about the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden said Friday that Donald Trump should not be allowed to receive classified intelligence briefings, a courtesy that historically has been granted to outgoing presidents.

In an interview with CBS News, Biden said that he does not believe Trump should receive the briefings “because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection,” referring to the January 6 riot.

Asked what he feared if Trump continued to receive the briefings, Biden said he did not want to “speculate out loud” but made it clear he did not want Trump to continue getting them.

“I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Biden said. “What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

US President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, January 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this week that the issue of granting Trump intelligence briefings was “something that is under review.”

Some Democratic lawmakers, and even some former Trump administration officials, have questioned the wisdom of allowing Trump to continue to briefed.

Susan Gordon, who served as the principal deputy director of national intelligence during the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019, in a Washington Post op-ed last month urged Biden to cut off Trump.

“His post-White House ‘security profile,’ as the professionals like to call it, is daunting,” Gordon wrote days after a pro-Trump mob laid siege to the US Capitol as lawmakers sought to certify his defeat in last November’s election. “Any former president is by definition a target and presents some risks. But a former president Trump, even before the events of last week, might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent.”

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Whether to give a past president intelligence briefings is solely the current officeholder’s prerogative. Biden voiced his opposition to giving Trump access to briefings as the former Republican president’s second impeachment trial is set to begin next week.

Gordon also raised concerns about Trump’s business entanglements. The real estate tycoon saw his business founder during his four years in Washington and is weighed down by significant debt, reportedly about $400 million. Trump during the campaign called his debt load a “peanut” and said he did not owe any money to Russia.

“Trump has significant business entanglements that involve foreign entities,” Gordon wrote. “Many of these current business relationships are in parts of the world that are vulnerable to intelligence services from other nation-states.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff takes a reporter’s question at the Capitol in Washington, January 15, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also urged Biden to cut off briefings for Trump.

“There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing,” Schiff said shortly before Trump ended his term last month. “I don’t think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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