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Congressional Republicans split on whether Biden should receive intel briefings


A growing number of GOP senators say it is time for Biden to receive classified reports

Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Several mainstream media outlets have declared Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden the victor in the race against President Donald Trump.

But despite the Republican commander in chief's continued fight against the projected results, GOP members of Congress are divided over whether Biden should begin receiving classified intelligence briefings as part of a prospective transition to power.

What are the details?

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made it clear Thursday that he was against such a notion. When asked about the idea of Biden receiving intelligence briefings in the name of national security, the GOP leader suggested it is too soon to consider.

"He's not president right now," McCarthy replied, according to Newsweek. "Don't know if he'll be president January 20, but whoever is will get the information."

The Hill noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has joined McCarthy in "not yet recogniz[ing] Biden as the winner of the election."

But the Washington Post reported the same day that a growing number Republican senators have said it is time for Biden to hear the information coming in from U.S. intelligence agencies — although the vast majority have stopped short of calling him the victor against Trump.

The Post pointed out that "only four of the 53 Senate Republicans have congratulated Biden."

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said of Biden, "Whether he actually gets the product itself I think the information needs to be communicated in some way. I'm on the intelligence committee, we don't get the PBR but we get products, intelligence products. I think he should get the information."

He added, "I just think it's part of the transition. And uh, if in fact he does win in the end, I think they need to be able to hit the ground running."

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) issued a similar response to CNN, explaining, "Well, I think that it probably makes sense to prepare for all contingencies. And as these election challenges play out in court, I don't have a problem with, and I think it's important from a national security standpoint, continuity. And you've seen other members suggesting that. I think that makes sense."

Strong Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also told CNN when asked whether Biden should receive the briefings, "Yeah, I think he should." The outlet reported that "Graham said he has not expressed his thoughts with the White House but said, 'I hope so,' when asked if he expects Biden to get the briefings soon."

Anything else?

Biden campaign manager Kate Bedingfield speculated to CNN's Jake Tapper that Republicans would eventually come around to acknowledging Biden as president-elect due to influence from their own voters, telling the host of McCarthy, "I think that he's going to feel the pressure from his constituents, just as others all across this country are going to feel."

She added, "I mean, people overwhelmingly voted for the Biden-Harris ticket, but don't forget, they also overwhelmingly voted for unity. They overwhelmingly voted for a leader who can find consensus, who can make progress, who can actually move the ball forward."

In a tweet on Thursday, Tapper wrote, "Latest insanity from Hill Republicans: House @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy says about President-elect @JoeBiden -- I 'don't know if he'll be president January 20.'"

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