In Brief

US election: Joe Biden locked out of classified briefings as Donald Trump refuses to concede

Administration officials blocking flow of national security information as Democrat criticises incumbent’s failure to admit defeat

The refusal of Donald Trump’s administration to admit his election defeat has left president-elect Joe Biden unable to access a raft of national security information, the Democrat has confirmed. 

Four days after Pennsylvania was called in Biden’s favour, handing him victory over Trump, General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy had yet to sign the letter of “ascertainment”. 

The letter sets the transition of power in motion, and has been a “mostly noncontroversial process since the passage of the transition act nearly 60 years ago”, says NBC News

Biden is also not receiving the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), a collection of high-level intelligence that is circulated among senior government officials. “Trump could authorise that with a word,” the broadcaster adds, “but he has not done so.”

The briefings are normally sent to the president-elect to aid the transition to power, with The New York Times describing it as “the most important pipeline for them to learn about the threats facing the United States”.

Shrugging off the briefings block during a news conference yesterday, the president-elect said: “Obviously, the PDB would be useful but it’s not necessary. I’m not the sitting president now.

“Access to classified information is useful, but I’m not in a position to make any decisions on these issues anyway. It would be nice to have it but it’s not critical.”

Biden was less forgiving of Trump’s failure to concede the election, however, describing this refusal as “an embarrassment”.

“The only thing that, how can I say this tactfully, I think it will not help the president’s legacy,” he added.

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