WASHINGTON (CNN) — Three weeks after the election, the White House has given formal approval for President-elect Joe Biden to receive the President’s Daily Brief, a White House official told CNN Tuesday.
Coordination on when Biden will receive his first briefing is currently underway, but the move is another step toward a transition of power that President Donald Trump held up for weeks after it was clear he lost the 2020 election.
It follows a formal notice by the General Services Administration Monday night that the formal transition of government can proceed.
Importance behind the President’s Daily Brief?
Receiving a classified intelligence briefing is typically one of the first rights of a presidential candidate after winning the election. It contains information about pressing national security issues that the new president will soon face. But Biden has yet to receive an intelligence briefing because of Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the election, which cause confusion inside the federal government over whether a transition could begin.
The PDB, as it’s known, is prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for the President, vice president and senior advisers.
An ODNI official attributed the change directly to the White House’s move to formally grant Biden access to the PDB. CNN previously reported the decision was Trump’s and the access to the PDB could have been granted before the GSA administrator made the transition official Monday.
ODNI, which is overseen by Trump’s handpicked intelligence chief John Ratcliffe, previously referred all questions about Biden and the PDB back to the White House, underscoring the fact that the decision regarding Biden’s access to the nation’s most highly classified secrets rested with Trump.
“Following the statutory direction of the Presidential Transition Act, ODNI will provide requested support to the transition team,” an ODNI spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday. “This afternoon the White House approved ODNI to move forward with providing the PDB as part of the support to the transition.”
A Biden transition official told CNN they had no comment on the decision to give the President-elect a classified briefing. Biden declined to answer a shouted question on the status of the briefings as he introduced his top national security picks Tuesday.
The ODNI official said this transition period could include providing an overview of the agency and related operations in addition to supporting the delivery of intelligence briefings.
The PDB is often tailored to the President currently in office. President George W. Bush preferred being briefed orally by his top intelligence aides while President Barack Obama often read through his on a secure tablet. Trump often received his in late-morning sessions with career intelligence officials, though at times it disappeared from his schedule altogether.
For the last three weeks, Trump has sought to overturn the results of an election that his own administration described as the most secure in US history before he fired the official who made that statement. In recent days, more Republicans had come forward to urge Trump to allow Biden to receive classified intelligence briefings, including his longtime ally South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
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