More Republican lawmakers said Thursday that the Trump administration should allow Joe Biden to receive intelligence, in a silent acknowledgment the Democrat could soon occupy the White House despite the president’s refusal to allow it.
Most Republican officials and lawmakers have publicly supported President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn election results through a series of lawsuits filed in individual states, following the president’s unfounded allegations of widespread voting fraud.
Biden has meanwhile moved on with the preparations to rule and spoke with Pope Francis when his Democrats in Congress blew up the Republican election “shenanigans” and called for action against the coronavirus pandemic.
With a few states still counting votes, Biden has won enough electoral states to surpass the 270 votes needed in the state electoral college that decides the next president. Biden also wins the popular vote with more than 5.2 million votes, or 3.4 percentage points.
A growing number of Republican senators, including John Cornyn, Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, urged the Trump administration to give Biden access to the president’s daily intelligence.
The president-elect traditionally receives such briefings from the intelligence service to learn about threats facing the United States before taking office.
“I do not see it as a high-risk proposal. I just think it’s part of the transition. And if he actually wins in the end, I think they need to be able to hit the ground running,” Cornyn told reporters. However, he refused to say that Biden had won.
When reporters asked Graham, a loud Trump defender, if the reviews would continue, he replied, “I think so, yes.”
Principal Kevin McCarthy opposed the idea.
“He is not president right now. I do not know if he will be president on January 20,” McCarthy said, refusing to acknowledge Trump’s defeat.
The two top Democrats in Congress – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer – on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s refusal to join Biden’s transition team.
Democratic leaders also called on Republicans to join them in passing legislation to tackle the pandemic and support the battered economy.
“Republicans should stop their shenanigans on an election that President Trump has already lost and focus their attention on the immediate issue at hand – give relief to a country living through COVID’s health and economic crisis,” Schumer said.
Biden, who will be the first Roman Catholic American president since John Kennedy in the 1960s, spoke with the pope on Thursday and thanked him for his “blessing and congratulations,” his transition team said.
Biden told the pope that he wanted to work together on issues such as caring for the poor, tackling climate change and welcoming immigrants and refugees.
Pandemic in focus
Biden has focused on planning his administration, with attention expected to be shifted to his choice of key government duties before taking office. His team said Biden met with transition counselors on Thursday in Delaware.
He appointed longtime adviser Ron Klain on Wednesday to the White House Chief of Staff, his first major appointment. Klain is expected to take a leading role in Biden’s response to the intensifying pandemic that has killed more than 242,000 Americans, with a record 142,000 new COVID-19 cases registered on Wednesday.
Trump, who has rejected the public health recommendations on masking and social distancing, was in hospital with COVID-19 last month. Many Trump staffers have been infected, with close adviser Corey Lewandowski on Thursday as the latest.
On Thursday, Pennsylvania officials asked a federal judge to drop a Trump lawsuit that sought to prevent the state from certifying its findings. Biden leads Trump in the swing state with more than 53,000 votes.
The Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits challenging the counting of votes in individual states. Legal experts have said the disputes have little chance of changing the outcome, and state election officials have said they saw no evidence of serious irregularities or fraud.
In a sign of weakened support for Trump’s efforts to claim widespread electoral fraud, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican who approved Trump, told CNN on Thursday “we must consider the former vice president as the president-elect.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by the great Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, ran an editorial that says Trump “is trying to delay the inevitable.”
“There is no evidence that fraud cost Mr. Trump the election, no matter how much the opposite tweets and his followers want it,” the management said.
Karl Rove, White House Deputy Chief of Staff to former Republican President George W. Bush, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “when his days in court are over, the president should do his part to unite the country by leading a peaceful transition and dropping complaints. . “