White House considers revoking Trump's access to intelligence briefings

Trump’s former deputy director of national intelligence among those calling for him to be barred from accessing information

Graig Graziosi
Monday 01 February 2021 21:32 GMT
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The White House is debating whether or not it will revoke Donald Trump's access to intelligence briefings in the wake of the Capitol insurrection.  

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the former president would still have access to the classified intelligence reports.  

"It's something, obviously, that's under review," she said.  

She noted that there had been "no determinations" made at the time the question was asked.  

Former presidents typically are given access to intelligence briefings, but Democrats worry Mr Trump might abuse the information in an attempt to use it to his personal advantage.  

Susan Gordon, who served as Mr Trump's principal deputy director of national intelligence, added her voice to the chorus of people calling for the former president's access to be revoked.  

Ms Gordon explained her position in a Washington Post editorial. She warned that Mr Trump “has significant business entanglements that involve foreign entities” and that continued access to intelligence briefings would result in a "potential national security threat".  

Former FBI Director James Comey told ABC News in an interview that the director of national intelligence, Avirl Haines, "will have to take a very hard look at whether Donald Trump should be given information, including any information that might be sensitive to the security of the United States".  

Likewise, Rep. Adam Schiff, a prominent Democratic critic of the former president during the "Russiagate" scandal, said he fully opposed any argument in favour of providing Mr Trump with classified information.  

“There’s no circumstance in which [Trump] should get another intelligence briefing,” he said on CBS's Face the Nation. “I don’t think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future.”

It may not be difficult to keep Mr Trump from seeking out the reports; according to a New York Times report from last year, the former president apparently did not read his intelligence briefings and struggled keeping his focus during information sessions.  

Among the intelligence briefings Mr Trump skimmed over or otherwise ignored were reports given to him in January and February of 2020 that forecasted the danger of the coronavirus. 

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