[guest post by Dana]
Progress for the GOP. With four Republican senators now acknowledging Joe Biden as the President-elect, there has been a call by GOP members for him to have access to security briefings so he will be fully prepared to take the reins in January:
A growing number of Republican senators, including members of GOP leadership, said Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden should get the intelligence briefings that he is currently unable to receive because of President Trump’s refusal to accept the election results.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the most senior Republican in the Senate, told CNN that Biden should receive classified briefings, but that “we ought to do what we did” after the 2000 election with respect to the General Services Administration signing off on transition paperwork.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), told CNN: “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.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said in a radio interview: “There’s nothing wrong with Vice President Biden getting the briefings to be able to prepare himself so that he can be ready. If that’s not occurring by Friday, I’ll step in as well and to be able to push him to say, this needs to occur so that regardless of the outcome of the election, whichever way it goes, people can be ready for that actual task.”
Senate Homeland Security Chair Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told reporters: “I have no problem with it. … In general, from what I’ve seen, intelligence briefings are really not worth a whole lot. The things we see in the SCIF don’t add much value.”
Meanwhile, practiced politician, Mitch McConnell, is involved in his own post-election balancing act. He’s not outrightly supporting Trump’s claims of voter fraud yet believes that Americans should see how this all plays out in the courts. All of this while not losing sight that run-off election in Georgia is critical and that it’s crucial that the GOP keeps majority power in the Senate:
The GOP leader is defending Trump’s right to challenge the vote counts in several key battleground states, arguing the courts are meant to handle disputed election results and that “wealthy media corporations” should not project the winner.
But McConnell is also keeping his distance from the president’s claims of voter fraud that his campaign has yet to back up with any hard evidence.
“What I’m going to do here in the Senate is concentrate on the business that we have left to do,” he told reporters Tuesday, adding he would “let the presidential election go through the various stages that it goes through under the Constitution.”
So what is Trump’s administration planning on doing during this strange time? As this Wall Street Journal report indicates, officials seem to accept that there will be a new president coming on board in January, and while they are cleaning house and setting last minute rules and regulations, the President himself is, well, a bit distracted:
Mr. Trump hasn’t discussed what elements of his policy agenda he wants to execute before leaving office, White House officials said. One official said there has been little formal planning on what needs to get done in the final months of the Trump administration. Some aides have begun compiling a list of regulations and other measures that can be completed before Inauguration Day, another official said.
Officials said they expect negotiations with lawmakers about the next round of coronavirus relief legislation will resume at some point. Some White House policy aides are also discussing potential executive orders on a range of issues, such as banning banks from refusing to lend to fossil-fuel companies, officials said.
White House adviser Stephen Miller and other officials are also rushing to complete a series of immigration regulations and rules that would make it tougher to win asylum and appeal a deportation order and effectively eliminate the H-1B visa lottery, which would largely shut off the program for recent college graduates, administration officials said. The Biden administration could seek to reverse the rules but it would take time and would likely prompt a fresh round of legal challenges. …
Asked what policy matters Mr. Trump might focus on over the next 70 days, another official said, ‘Not a lot.’ The official said it has been difficult to shift the president’s attention away from the election.
Yeah, I’d say he was a bit distracted:
“REPORT: DOMINION DELETED 2.7 MILLION TRUMP VOTES NATIONWIDE. DATA ANALYSIS FINDS 221,000 PENNSYLVANIA VOTES SWITCHED FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP TO BIDEN. 941,000 TRUMP VOTES DELETED. STATES USING DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS SWITCHED 435,000 VOTES FROM TRUMP TO BIDEN.” @ChanelRion @OANN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2020
This is madness.