Rundown: Biden transition team to begin getting Pentagon intelligence briefings Monday

TheHill.com
Reprint

By Joseph Choi – 12/06/20

Biden transition team to begin getting Pentagon intelligence briefings Monday: report
© Getty Images

Members of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team will receive briefings from Pentagon intelligence agencies on Monday, defense officials told CNN.

 “They are meeting with DoD intelligence agencies Monday and Tuesday of this week,” a senior defense official told the network.

The move follows news from last week that Biden’s team members were set to meet with military-run spy agencies this week, despite reports that the Trump administration was blocking these meetings.

The Department of Defense denied claims it was blocking such efforts, CNN reports, instead, pointing the finger at the transition team for the apparent delay.

“We can’t help them if they can’t read an org chart,” a defense official said to CNN.

According to CNN, several officials said Biden’s team had not followed agreed-upon arrangements when they reached out directly to intelligence agencies.

Another defense official told the news network, “That was more of an internal issue for the Biden team than a DoD issue.”

Officials also denied that Kash Patel, the new Pentagon chief of staff, had any hand in the transition process with one official saying, “Kash has delegated much of his responsibility to Tom (Muir).” The official added that Patel had not “edited or modified” briefing materials.

Biden’s transition process had been stalled for a little over two weeks after he was projected to be the winner of the presidential election. On Nov. 23, the General Service Administration ascertained Biden as the winner, allowing his transition team access to federal funds and allowing team members to begin coordinating with federal agencies.

According to Pentagon officials, this week’s meetings were scheduled prior to the reports that the administration was denying Biden’s team access to security agencies. Defense officials also shared that 47 interviews are currently scheduled for next week, including some with Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist.

Meetings on policy and international issues have reportedly already taken place. Due to the pandemic and the preferences of Biden’s team, nearly all of these meetings have been conducted virtually and not at the Pentagon, according to officials.

Tags Joe BidenBiden transitionDepartment of DefensePentagonIntelligence agencies

Giuliani has tested positive for coronavirus, Trump says

By Brett Samuels – 12/06/20

Rudy Giuliani, who has led President Trump‘s legal challenges to try to overturn the election, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the president said Sunday.

.@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!” Trump tweeted.

.@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2020

Giuliani is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle to contract the virus. Trump himself was infected and spent several days in the hospital in early October, and his chief of staff, multiple senior advisers, his press secretary, his campaign manager and his oldest son have all tested positive since.

The former New York City mayor is 76, putting him at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus.

Giuliani’s diagnosis comes roughly two weeks after his son, Andrew, who works in the White House, tested positive for the coronavirus. He held a lengthy, indoor, maskless press conference in late November with, among others, Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, who tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter.

But the former New York City mayor opted not to quarantine in the time since as he serves as the lead lawyer for Trump in his unsuccessful bid to undermine the election results.

Instead, Giuliani has been traveling to battleground states and appearing at campaign events where he and some GOP lawmakers have levied allegations of voter fraud and argued that President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory is invalid. Giuliani has been to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona in the past two weeks alone.

Giuliani has failed to produce any evidence of widespread fraud in court, with judges in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan all dismissing cases for lack of standing in recent weeks.

Trump has refused to concede defeat in the election, insisting without evidence that it was stolen or rigged. Attorney General William Barr said last week that his department has not seen any evidence thus far of widespread fraud that would change the outcome.

Tags Rudy GiulianiDonald TrumpJoe BidenWilliam BarrCoronavirusCOVID-192020 election

Four reasons Donald Trump will likely become a spent force

By Glenn. C. Altschuler, opinion contributor — 12/06/20

In a blistering and brilliant essay in The New York Review of Books, Fintan O’Toole maintains that although “the malignant presidency of Donald Trump seems moribund, [it is] also vigorously alive.” After all, life after death has been the “governing trope” of Trump, the bankrupt businessman, candidate and president. This fall, O’Toole writes, Trump crafted a narrative in which he contracted COVID-19 as a “Jesus-like self-sacrifice,” “died” at Walter Reed hospital and then rose again. Those who believe the system corrected itself in the 2020 election must confront a Republican base that is “immune to its results” because “everything is rigged against them” and “an afterlife that is not in the next world but in this one — the long posterity of Donald Trump.”

O’Toole may be right.

But a compelling case can also be made that while hyperpartisanship continues to poison American politics, Trump will become a spent force.ADVERTISEMENT

Here are four reasons that lend support to this conjecture:

1) A substantial number of Americans who embraced Trump because he advanced their evangelical or economic agenda or because he stuck a finger in the eye of the establishment may stop hanging on every tweet when he relinquishes the platform, prerogatives and power of the presidency. Other MAGA-hatters may conclude that reality TV is not nearly as engrossing when the boss can’t hire — or fire — any apprentices. A Gallup poll released on Nov. 30 finds that Trump’s approval among Republicans dropped six percentage points in the last month.

To help him command the attention of the mainstream media, cable news networks, talk radio and streaming services, Trump is apparently considering signing on with or buying into One America News Network or Newsmax. But the post-Nov. 3 spike in the previously modest ratings of these fledgling, conspiracy-driven outlets will probably be temporary. More important, any deal with competitors is certain to alienate Fox News, which now has fewer incentives to be “Trump TV.” Having provoked the president’s ire by declaring on election night that former Vice President Biden carried Arizona (which he did), Fox will in any event no longer give Trump unlimited access to its viewers.

2) Aspirants for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 are already stirring. A shortlist includes Vice President Pence, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. To remain relevant, Trump will hint that he will run again or declare his candidacy. Nonetheless, keeping all the hopefuls “as frozen in place as a COVID vaccine” for years will be difficult — especially if Trump begins to falter or fade and it seems likely he would be defeated in 2024.

3) The mountain of litigation Trump faces will very likely result in politically as well as personally damaging revelations about him. Courts will compel Trump to turn over records — including tax returns — and to testify under oath. New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance are investigating “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct,” including insurance and bank fraud connected to misrepresentation of assets. Even if Trump pardons himself and the Supreme Court were to affirm the action constitutional, he would not be immunized from prosecution by New York State.

The Internal Revenue Service will complete its audit of Trump’s tax returns. The House of Representatives has subpoenaed the financial records of the Trump Organization. Trump has been named an unindicted co-conspirator who violated campaign finance laws. In a defamation suit involving an allegation of rape, magazine writer E. Jean Carroll is seeking DNA evidence. Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric, and Jared Kushner are likely to find themselves in legal jeopardy as well.

While Trump thus far has been adept at parlaying such legal challenges to his own political advantage, that is likely to change — despite his efforts — once he’s out of office and the cases actually proceed.

4) Legitimate questions have been raised about Trump’s health. Now 74 years old, Trump is obese, has a penchant for fast food, takes medication for high cholesterol and believes physical exercise drains the body of finite energy resources.

Despite his stated interest in returning to the White House in 2024, he may simply not be up to it. And that may become obvious — even to his base.

Prognosticators, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense often emphasized, should always take into account known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns (things we don’t know we don’t know).

As they peer into the future, pundits can bank on two known knowns about Donald Trump: His only motives are money, power, self-interest and self-promotion, and he will not stay — or go — anywhere quietly.

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Blumin) of “Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.” Tags Donald TrumpNikki HaleyJosh HawleyMarco RubioTom CottonMike PenceTed CruzJared KushnerTrump presidencyTrump legal issuesTrump pollstrumpism

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https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d
TheHill.com
Reprint

By Joseph Choi – 12/06/20

Biden transition team to begin getting Pentagon intelligence briefings Monday: report
© Getty Images

Members of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team will receive briefings from Pentagon intelligence agencies on Monday, defense officials told CNN.

 “They are meeting with DoD intelligence agencies Monday and Tuesday of this week,” a senior defense official told the network.

Insert Ads Here

The move follows news from last week that Biden’s team members were set to meet with military-run spy agencies this week, despite reports that the Trump administration was blocking these meetings.

The Department of Defense denied claims it was blocking such efforts, CNN reports, instead, pointing the finger at the transition team for the apparent delay.

“We can’t help them if they can’t read an org chart,” a defense official said to CNN.

According to CNN, several officials said Biden’s team had not followed agreed-upon arrangements when they reached out directly to intelligence agencies.

Another defense official told the news network, “That was more of an internal issue for the Biden team than a DoD issue.”

Officials also denied that Kash Patel, the new Pentagon chief of staff, had any hand in the transition process with one official saying, “Kash has delegated much of his responsibility to Tom (Muir).” The official added that Patel had not “edited or modified” briefing materials.

Biden’s transition process had been stalled for a little over two weeks after he was projected to be the winner of the presidential election. On Nov. 23, the General Service Administration ascertained Biden as the winner, allowing his transition team access to federal funds and allowing team members to begin coordinating with federal agencies.

According to Pentagon officials, this week’s meetings were scheduled prior to the reports that the administration was denying Biden’s team access to security agencies. Defense officials also shared that 47 interviews are currently scheduled for next week, including some with Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist.

Meetings on policy and international issues have reportedly already taken place. Due to the pandemic and the preferences of Biden’s team, nearly all of these meetings have been conducted virtually and not at the Pentagon, according to officials.

Tags Joe BidenBiden transitionDepartment of DefensePentagonIntelligence agencies

Giuliani has tested positive for coronavirus, Trump says

By Brett Samuels – 12/06/20

Rudy Giuliani, who has led President Trump‘s legal challenges to try to overturn the election, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the president said Sunday.

.@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!” Trump tweeted.

.@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2020

Giuliani is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle to contract the virus. Trump himself was infected and spent several days in the hospital in early October, and his chief of staff, multiple senior advisers, his press secretary, his campaign manager and his oldest son have all tested positive since.

The former New York City mayor is 76, putting him at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus.

Giuliani’s diagnosis comes roughly two weeks after his son, Andrew, who works in the White House, tested positive for the coronavirus. He held a lengthy, indoor, maskless press conference in late November with, among others, Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, who tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter.

But the former New York City mayor opted not to quarantine in the time since as he serves as the lead lawyer for Trump in his unsuccessful bid to undermine the election results.

Instead, Giuliani has been traveling to battleground states and appearing at campaign events where he and some GOP lawmakers have levied allegations of voter fraud and argued that President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory is invalid. Giuliani has been to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona in the past two weeks alone.

Giuliani has failed to produce any evidence of widespread fraud in court, with judges in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan all dismissing cases for lack of standing in recent weeks.

Trump has refused to concede defeat in the election, insisting without evidence that it was stolen or rigged. Attorney General William Barr said last week that his department has not seen any evidence thus far of widespread fraud that would change the outcome.

Tags Rudy GiulianiDonald TrumpJoe BidenWilliam BarrCoronavirusCOVID-192020 election

Four reasons Donald Trump will likely become a spent force

By Glenn. C. Altschuler, opinion contributor — 12/06/20

In a blistering and brilliant essay in The New York Review of Books, Fintan O’Toole maintains that although “the malignant presidency of Donald Trump seems moribund, [it is] also vigorously alive.” After all, life after death has been the “governing trope” of Trump, the bankrupt businessman, candidate and president. This fall, O’Toole writes, Trump crafted a narrative in which he contracted COVID-19 as a “Jesus-like self-sacrifice,” “died” at Walter Reed hospital and then rose again. Those who believe the system corrected itself in the 2020 election must confront a Republican base that is “immune to its results” because “everything is rigged against them” and “an afterlife that is not in the next world but in this one — the long posterity of Donald Trump.”

O’Toole may be right.

But a compelling case can also be made that while hyperpartisanship continues to poison American politics, Trump will become a spent force.ADVERTISEMENT

Here are four reasons that lend support to this conjecture:

1) A substantial number of Americans who embraced Trump because he advanced their evangelical or economic agenda or because he stuck a finger in the eye of the establishment may stop hanging on every tweet when he relinquishes the platform, prerogatives and power of the presidency. Other MAGA-hatters may conclude that reality TV is not nearly as engrossing when the boss can’t hire — or fire — any apprentices. A Gallup poll released on Nov. 30 finds that Trump’s approval among Republicans dropped six percentage points in the last month.

To help him command the attention of the mainstream media, cable news networks, talk radio and streaming services, Trump is apparently considering signing on with or buying into One America News Network or Newsmax. But the post-Nov. 3 spike in the previously modest ratings of these fledgling, conspiracy-driven outlets will probably be temporary. More important, any deal with competitors is certain to alienate Fox News, which now has fewer incentives to be “Trump TV.” Having provoked the president’s ire by declaring on election night that former Vice President Biden carried Arizona (which he did), Fox will in any event no longer give Trump unlimited access to its viewers.

2) Aspirants for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 are already stirring. A shortlist includes Vice President Pence, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. To remain relevant, Trump will hint that he will run again or declare his candidacy. Nonetheless, keeping all the hopefuls “as frozen in place as a COVID vaccine” for years will be difficult — especially if Trump begins to falter or fade and it seems likely he would be defeated in 2024.

3) The mountain of litigation Trump faces will very likely result in politically as well as personally damaging revelations about him. Courts will compel Trump to turn over records — including tax returns — and to testify under oath. New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance are investigating “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct,” including insurance and bank fraud connected to misrepresentation of assets. Even if Trump pardons himself and the Supreme Court were to affirm the action constitutional, he would not be immunized from prosecution by New York State.

The Internal Revenue Service will complete its audit of Trump’s tax returns. The House of Representatives has subpoenaed the financial records of the Trump Organization. Trump has been named an unindicted co-conspirator who violated campaign finance laws. In a defamation suit involving an allegation of rape, magazine writer E. Jean Carroll is seeking DNA evidence. Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric, and Jared Kushner are likely to find themselves in legal jeopardy as well.

While Trump thus far has been adept at parlaying such legal challenges to his own political advantage, that is likely to change — despite his efforts — once he’s out of office and the cases actually proceed.

4) Legitimate questions have been raised about Trump’s health. Now 74 years old, Trump is obese, has a penchant for fast food, takes medication for high cholesterol and believes physical exercise drains the body of finite energy resources.

Despite his stated interest in returning to the White House in 2024, he may simply not be up to it. And that may become obvious — even to his base.

Prognosticators, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense often emphasized, should always take into account known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns (things we don’t know we don’t know).

As they peer into the future, pundits can bank on two known knowns about Donald Trump: His only motives are money, power, self-interest and self-promotion, and he will not stay — or go — anywhere quietly.

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Blumin) of “Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.” Tags Donald TrumpNikki HaleyJosh HawleyMarco RubioTom CottonMike PenceTed CruzJared KushnerTrump presidencyTrump legal issuesTrump pollstrumpism