There's a long and storied tradition of U.S. presidents writing letters of encouragement and penning advice to those who have succeeded them in the position of commander in chief. This is true even when a leader's opportunity to lead the country for four more years gets dashed — George Bush Sr.'s letter to Bill Clinton is a huge example of that. And many ex-presidents, actually, do get the benefit of receiving White House intelligence briefings, but why?
So why do ex-presidents get intelligence briefings? It's more than just a "courtesy."
These briefings aren't just a privilege, they're a time-honored tradition among U.S. leaders so that they can be better prepared to give counsel to the incumbent president for important matters. Whether it's helping to show the ropes around the presidential role, or give their feedback on an important issue, it's pretty useful to have folks who were once put in charge in managing one of the world's most powerful and influential countries give their advice.
President Joe Biden has stated that he doesn't want to give Donald Trump access to intelligence briefings.
Aside from Biden, there are five other living U.S. presidents who would be eligible for these briefings. However according to the Washington Post, only four of these men may be receiving these reports.
Joe Biden has stated that due to Donald Trump's "erratic behavior" there's a very real danger the former GOP president may reveal sensitive materials or information to the public.
So can Biden bar Trump from intelligence briefings? Legally, yes, he can.
There's been a lot of talk as to whether or not Joe Biden can stop Donald Trump from being given these briefings. However, the law is pretty cut and dry about the matter. The president can officially deny intelligence briefings access to whomever they see fit, and since Joe Biden has stated that he doesn't trust Donald Trump with the information, and has suggested Trump is a security risk in the past, it doesn't seem likely that the former president will be getting intel while he lives out his ex-presidential days in Mar-a-Lago.
The world just got a little safer. Again. 😌https://t.co/3fxjiFbLZI— Jennifer McDermott (@tutordotwriter) February 6, 2021
Also, when asked during an interview with Norah O'Donnell on CBS Evening News whether or not Trump should get the reports, Biden replied by saying, "I think not."
It's important to note, however, that the White House hasn't made an official statement as to whether or not Donald Trump would receive these intelligence briefings to the media outlet.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also spoke to Trump's potential access to intelligence briefings during a daily press meeting on Feb. 1, 2021, "The President was expressing his concern about former President Trump receiving access to sensitive intelligence..."
Press Sec. Jen Psaki says the White House has yet to decide whether to revoke Pres. Trump’s access to post-presidency intelligence briefings: pic.twitter.com/yK4nMUUyTj— The Recount (@therecount) February 1, 2021
Psaki continued, "...but he also has deep trust in his own intelligence team to make a determination about how to provide intelligence information if at any point the former President Trump requests a briefing."
Throngs of people took to social media to commend Joe Biden for his statement.
Watching the news and seeing that Biden is going to cut off Trump from his intelligence briefings. Separating Donald Trump from classified information makes my vote worth it right there.— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) February 5, 2021
Others stated that the intelligence briefings are a "privilege" and not a "right."
Much has been said about Donald Trump's exit from the White House, from his rally that preceded the capitol riots, to his decision to not be present at Joe Biden's inauguration.
Classified intelligence briefings for a former President are a privilege, not a right.— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) February 6, 2021
BREAKING: President Biden says trump should no longer receive classified intelligence briefings— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 6, 2021
In the end, though, it's well within President Joe Biden's right to withhold intelligence briefings from an ex-president — as well as anyone he sees fit, for that matter.