The Biden administration is considering whether former President Donald Trump should continue to receive intelligence briefings as a private citizen, a courtesy granted to all former presidents, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.
Psaki said Trump’s access to national security intelligence is under review.
“It’s something, obviously, that’s under review, but there was not a conclusion last I asked them about it, but I’m happy to follow up on it and see if there’s more to share,” Psaki said.
After leaving office, former presidents usually have access to routine intelligence briefings and classified information. But many opponents of the former president believe he should be restricted from receiving the information.
Sue Gordon, former principal deputy director of national intelligence, suggested Trump should not be eligible for the perk.
“My recommendation, as a 30-plus-year veteran of the intelligence community, is not to provide him any briefings after Jan. 20,” Gordon said in the Washington Post . “With this simple act — which is solely the new president’s prerogative — Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen.”
Democrat Representative from California and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff also recommended against allowing Trump to have access to classified intelligence post-presidency.
“There is no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing — not now, not in the future,” Schiff said in an interview. “I don’t think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future he certainly can’t be trusted.”
White House chief of staff Ron Klain said President Joe Biden would look to intelligence professionals for recommendations before deciding to ban Trump from receiving the briefings.
The question to bar Trump from what has been standard practice for former presidents comes just days ahead of the 45th president’s second impeach trial.
Trump’s legal team responded to the articles of impeachment against him in a statement Tuesday, asking the Senate to acquit the former president because attempting to remove a former president from office is a violation of the Constitution, they allege.
“The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th President because he holds no public office from which he can be removed, and the Constitution limits the authority of the Senate in cases of impeachment to removal from office as the prerequisite active remedy allowed the Senate under our Constitution,” the statement said.
On January 6, a protest at the Capitol building turned violent following a speech from President Trump during which he said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building, to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
The article of impeachment alleged that the former president “engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
President Trump denied the incitement allegations in his statement, noting that Democrats questioned and challenged election results in 2017 after Trump won.
“…the 45th President of the United States performed admirably in his role as president, at all times doing what he thought was in the best interests of the American people,” Trump’s response said. “The 45th President believes and therefore avers that in the United States, the people choose their President, and that he was properly chosen in 2016 and sworn into office in 2017, serving his term to the best of his ability in comportment with his oath of office.”