Biden answered, “I think not,” when asked by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell if Trump should receive the sensitive briefings. Biden went on to say that he didn’t see an upside in allowing Trump continued access.
After Biden said the former president’s “erratic behavior” was present prior to the insurrection, the host asked what concerned him most about Trump receiving classified information.
O’Donnell: You’ve called him an existential threat. You’ve called him dangerous. You’ve called him reckless.
Biden: I have. And I believe it.
O’Donnell: What’s your worst fear if he continues to get these intelligence briefings?
Biden wouldn’t give details about the sort of damage Trump might purposely cause and instead said that there’s no value in providing him with briefings because the former president “might slip and say something.”
“I’d rather not speculate out loud, I just think that there is no need for him to have that intelligence briefing,” Biden continued, asking, “What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”
During Trump’s final weeks in office, calls for blocking his access to classified information had already begun. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said that Trump “can’t be trusted” with the intelligence. And Susan Gordon, Trump’s former deputy director of national intelligence made the argument, in an op-ed before Biden was inaugurated, that private citizen Trump with access to sensitive material posed a national security risk.
“My recommendation, as a 30-plus-year veteran of the intelligence community, is not to provide [Trump] any briefings after Jan. 20,” Gordon wrote. “With this simple act — which is solely the new president’s prerogative — Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen.”