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GOP Senator Says He'll Go to Bat for Biden on Intel Briefs

James Lankford of Okla.: I'll 'step in' if president-elect isn't given access by Friday
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2020 7:24 AM CST

(Newser) – President Trump still hasn't conceded to Joe Biden, and the president-elect still hasn't been given access to transition funding and intelligence briefings. In pushing to get those resources, it looks like Biden will have a new ally come Friday: GOP Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma says he'll intervene if Trump doesn't start cooperating by then. In a Wednesday interview with KRMG, Lankford noted "it is important for the 71 million-plus people that voted for President Trump ... know all of their questions were answered" about the election, including that "there is a president that was actually duly elected." Still, Lankford acknowledged that it looks likely Biden is the one who was duly elected, and he expressed confidence that "there will be a peaceful transition of power in the United States."

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The senator then added there's "nothing wrong" with Biden receiving intelligence briefings, as is customary for president-elects, while a recount in Georgia and various legal challenges take place. "There is no loss from [Biden] getting the briefings and ... if that's not [occurring] by Friday, I will step in as well," Lankford said, per the Hill. "This needs to occur so that regardless of the outcome of the election ... people can be ready for that actual task." He added that VP-elect Kamala Harris also has all needed clearances to receive the briefings, as she's on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The New York Times notes that, as the 2000 election was being contested, then-President Bill Clinton gave the OK for George W. Bush to get access to the presidential daily brief on crucial national security issues; Al Gore already had access as VP. Lankford, who's on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says he's begun "engaging" on the issue, per the Times. (Read more President-elect Biden stories.)

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