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President Biden says former President Donald Trump should lose access to intelligence briefings because he might “slip and say something.”
In an interview with CBS News Friday, Biden said Trump should not know US secrets “because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection,” referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that disrupted certification of Biden’s victory.
CBS host Norah O’Donnell replied, “You’ve called him an existential threat. You’ve called him dangerous. You’ve called him reckless.”
“I have, and I believe it,” Biden said in his first TV interview as president.
Biden declined to tell O’Donnell what his “worst fear” is about Trump having access to intelligence.
“I’d rather not speculate out loud. I just think that there is no need for him to have that intelligence briefing. 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?” Biden said.
Ex-presidents and other former senior officials customarily retain access to classified information.
Trump in 2018 revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who had become a prominent critic of Trump’s policies.
Biden would not say, when asked, if the Senate should convict Trump in an impeachment trial that begins next week for allegedly inciting the Capitol riot, which left five dead. At least 17 Senate Republicans would have to vote to convict, making it unlikely Trump will be found guilty and subsequently barred from holding office again.
Forty-five Senate Republicans previously voted for a measure to declare the impeachment unconstitutional since Trump is already out of office, and that is a key point in Trump’s defense.
“I ran like hell to defeat him because I thought he was unfit to be president. I watched what everybody else watched, what happened when that coup invaded the United States Congress, but I’m not in the Senate now. I’m going to let the Senate make that decision,” Biden said.
Also during Friday’s interview, Biden acknowledged that his proposal to more than double the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour wouldn’t likely remain part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package under consideration by Congress.
“I put it in, but I don’t think it’s going to survive,” he said.
Senate Democrats agreed to remove the minimum-wage hike from the plan during a marathon “vote-a-rama” that ended early Friday morning, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) surprisingly supporting the move — but saying he’d insist it be part of the federal budget bill.
Trump’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.