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White House May Cut Off Briefings for Trump

Current and former officials question whether former president can be trusted with secrets
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2021 5:32 PM CST

(Newser) – Presidents usually receive national intelligence briefings even after leaving office. The Biden administration is reconsidering that policy, the Hill reports. There have been calls to stop the briefings for former President Trump from Democrats, as well as former Trump aides, saying he can't be trusted with classified information. Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said that while Trump was still in office. "There's no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future," Schiff said. "I don't think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future he certainly can't be trusted." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that national security officials haven't made a decision yet.

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Cutting Trump off would eliminate a national security risk, wrote Susan Gordon in an oped in the Washington Post. Gordon was principal deputy director of national intelligence in the Trump administration. The former president, she writes, "might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent." Unlike other presidents leaving office, Trump made clear that he's going to stay involved in politics and policy. Also, "Trump has significant business entanglements that involve foreign entities," which could make him vulnerable. If at some point, there's a national security advantage to telling Trump something, Gordon writes, that works: The president at that time can make the decision. Former FBI Director James Comey was more blunt. "The guy's a lying demagogue who you can't trust," Comey said, per ABC. "You want to be very, very careful about what you give him." (Trump discounted his intelligence briefings about the coronavirus as the outbreak began.)

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