POLITICS

Senate Intelligence Committee Member Says Trump Should Be Cut Off From Briefings

Sen. Angus King said there's a "grave danger" of Trump revealing classified information if he receives intelligence briefings after his presidency ends.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that President Donald Trump should be cut off from intelligence briefings after his presidency ends.

“There’s a grave danger of him inadvertently or willfully revealing classified information that would compromise sources and methods,” King told CNN. “And there is no upside. There is no reason that he needs to have this information.”

“It’s a courtesy that’s been passed on from president to president, but there is no legal requirement,” he continued. “And I think given his past history of being fast and loose with intelligence data, it ought to be ― that ought to be an easy decision for the incoming president.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) echoed King’s position during an appearance Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” stating that Trump “absolutely” should not continue to receive the briefings.

“There’s no circumstance in which this president should receive another intelligence briefing ― not now, not in the future,” Schiff said. “I don’t think he can be trusted with it now.”

It’s customary for a current president to grant access to intelligence briefings and classified information to their predecessor. In an extraordinary opinion piece published Friday in The Washington Post, Susan Gordon, who served as Trump’s principal deputy director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019, urged Biden to pause that tradition.

“Convention left the premises a long time ago with President Trump, and his demonstrated approach to national security and intelligence suggest that a more purposeful decision must be made about providing intelligence to this soon-to-be former president,” wrote Gordon, who resigned from the Trump administration in 2019.

She continued: “My recommendation, as a 30-plus-year veteran of the intelligence community, is not to provide him any briefings after Jan. 20. 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.”

During an interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ronald Klain, Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, would not say whether the Biden administration would heed Gordon’s recommendation. 

“We’ll certainly look for a recommendation from the intelligence professionals in the Biden administration,” Klain said. “And we’ll act on that recommendation.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.