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The transition team of President-elect Joe Biden is pushing for access to national security briefings as well as updated information on the coronavirus pandemic.
Watch the presser stream in the video player above.
In a virtual briefing, Jen Psaki, an advisor to the Biden Harris Transition, told reporters Friday that “you need real time information to deal with crises of the moment.”
“Obviously at this pivotal time when, as we’ve seen this week, thousands of Americans have lost their lives to COVID, the current president is absent from that conversation and it’s imperative that our team and our experts have that access,” she said.
On Thursday Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said it was time for President-elect Biden to get the intelligence briefings traditionally provided during a presidential transition. And Lankford said he would step in if that process doesn’t begin by Friday.
Psaki did not confirm whether the intelligence briefings had taken place, but did say Lankford was not the only Republican had raised concerns about the issue.
Lankford said both President Donald Trump and Biden were receiving intelligence reports throughout the campaign. But he said Biden’s briefings have “stopped” since the election.
“We’re not interested in having a food fight with the GSA administrator or anyone, really,” Psaki said. “We just want to get access to intelligence information, to threat assessments, to the ongoing work on COVID so that we can prepare to govern, bring the American people together and get the pandemic under control.”
This week, Biden has named longtime aide Ronald Klain as his incoming chief-of-staff and announced the experts who would serve on his administration’s COVID-19 advisory board to develop policies that could go into effect on his first day in office. Leaders from around the world, including Pope Francis, as well as a growing number of Republican lawmakers, have congratulated Biden on his win.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has refused to concede that he lost the election. His campaign continues to pursue lawsuits to interrupt ballot counts in a handful of states, and the president himself has tweeted and made false claims to discredit millions of votes and the election itself.
Laura Santhanam is the Health Reporter and Coordinating Producer for Polling for the PBS NewsHour, where she has also worked as the Data Producer. Follow @LauraSanthanam
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