Joe Biden taped his first network news interview since the inauguration on Friday with Norah O’Donnell, anchor of CBS Evening News. The interview aired last night before the Super Bowl. One of the questions asked of the president was whether or not he thinks former President Trump should receive intelligence briefings. Ex-presidents and other former senior officials customarily retain access to classified information through briefings. President Unity and Civility said no.
If Trump asked for such briefings and was turned down due to orders from President Biden, it would be an unprecedented event. Intelligence briefings are extended as a courtesy to former presidents. Often they have the opportunity to meet with world leaders and it is a way for them to stay current on world affairs. Former Presidents Carter, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama receive briefings. As we know, Trump isn’t a regular former president so the current president said the quiet part out loud while answering O’Donnell’s question – Trump should be treated differently than the others.
Biden justifies his opinion by saying that Trump “might slip and say something” and believes that Trump is “an existential threat” though not specifically because of the Capitol Hill riot.
In an interview with CBS News Friday, Biden said Trump should not know US secrets “because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection,” referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that disrupted certification of Biden’s victory.
CBS host Norah O’Donnell replied, “You’ve called him an existential threat. You’ve called him dangerous. You’ve called him reckless.”
“I have, and I believe it,” Biden said in his first TV interview as president.
Biden declined to tell O’Donnell what his “worst fear” is about Trump having access to intelligence.
“I’d rather not speculate out loud. I just think that there is no need for him to have that intelligence briefing. 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?” Biden said.
O’Connell asked the question so that Biden would jump ugly on Trump and he took the bait. What impact does he have at all is an arrogant way of saying that Trump is outside the loop in decision-making. What kind of impact does any former president have with world leaders? They only focus on dealing with the current president. Biden should have said he didn’t want to discuss intelligence briefings. Instead, he took the cheap shot. Biden punted, though, when asked if Trump should be found guilty in the impeachment trial that begins tomorrow in the Senate. He said he’s not in the Senate anymore and will let them come to their own decision.
“I ran like hell to defeat him because I thought he was unfit to be president. I watched what everybody else watched, what happened when that coup invaded the United States Congress, but I’m not in the Senate now. I’m going to let the Senate make that decision,” Biden said.
Ran like hell to defeat him? Joe Biden stayed in his basement throughout the campaign and only emerged in the last weeks with an appearance here and there, always close to his home and only for events like those he held in parking lots with a limited amount of attendees in their cars. That’s not “running like hell” for a candidate, certainly not a presidential candidate.
Joe Biden, I’ll add here, traveled overseas and trashed President Trump to foreign audiences. Most people find that unacceptable behavior but Joe did it. For example, he slammed Trump’s immigration policies to an audience in Germany in 2019. He told the audience he was considering a run for president. “I promise you,” he assured his European listeners, “as my mother would say, this too shall pass. We will be back. We will be back. Don’t have any doubt about that.” He went on to slam Trump’s policies on climate change, trade, domestic, and foreign policy. Remember, liberals gaslight everyone because of their own behavior. Politicians and former politicans used to abide by a credo that politics stop at the water’s edge. President Civility is a next-level hypocrite.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki must have heard some of the criticism once the video clips from this interview began circulating. Saturday she released a statement to clean up the president’s remarks. He doesn’t really have the last word here, you know, she said.
But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Saturday: “The president was expressing his concern about former president Trump receiving access to sensitive intelligence, but he also has deep trust in his own intelligence team to make a determination about how to provide intelligence information if at any point the former president Trump requests a briefing.”
Biden, as Psaki says, implied that the intelligence community wasn’t up to the task of determining what intelligence information to brief the former about if he even asks for a briefing. Trump didn’t seem particularly interested in the day to day briefings while he was in office and there is no indication that he has asked for them now. I will note this little tidbit – former CIA Director Michael Hayden cheered on Biden’s remarks. He was a constant critic of Trump’s during his time in the White House, exhibiting unprofessional behavior in exchange for a gig on a cable news network, especially when he learned that some of Trump’s advisers at the time were encouraging Trump to stop Obama’s intel briefings. At that time, he was shocked and appalled at such talk.
But he wasn’t so enthused two and a half years ago, when Trump was the one who reportedly considered restricting former President Barack Obama’s access.
In August 2018, Hayden told CNN the idea was “an almost unspeakable proposal” that is “so un-American. It’s hard to imagine that happening in any but the most autocratic governments in the world.”
Hayden is a retired four-star Air Force general who served as director of the National Security Agency and later the CIA under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama.
It’s about time! https://t.co/UZgOfYeQ5Z
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) February 6, 2021
I don’t think the briefings should be a thing for any of them once they leave their office. They go back to being private citizens, albeit with perks. If the tradition continues, then they all should have access to the briefings, whether it is for a president you like or not.