President-elect Joe Biden said Monday that Donald Trump’s appointees at the Pentagon were stalling on the transition and warned that the United States faces security risks as a result.
After he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were briefed by their transition teams on national security, Biden said that political appointees at the Pentagon as well as the Office of Management and Budget had put up “roadblocks.”
“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security area(s),” Biden said after the briefing.
“It is nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”
Biden said he was seeking a “clear picture” from the outgoing administration on the force posture of US troops around the world.
“We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch-up that our adversaries may try to exploit,” Biden said.
Trump has refused to concede the November 3 election, which Biden won by some seven million votes and by 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College. The president has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud.
The Trump administration has drawn concern by shaking up the leadership of the Pentagon since the election including firing defense secretary Mark Esper, who had distanced himself from the president’s use of force against unarmed anti-racism demonstrators earlier this year.
Trump’s new acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, has said that the outgoing administration had agreed with Biden’s people to pause briefings for the holiday season, an assertion that the incoming team called untrue.
Trump’s last-minute installation of loyalists at the Pentagon comes amid high tensions with Iran, which Trump blamed for a rocket attack on the US Embassy in Iraq ahead of the January anniversary of the US killing in Baghdad of a top Iranian general.
Pence Sued by GOP Legislators to Overturn Biden’s Victory
A group of congressional Republicans led by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert are suing Vice President Mike Pence to prevent him from confirming Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
On Jan. 6, Pence is set to preside over Congress’ meeting to count the Electoral College votes, which will officially cement Biden as the next president, according to the 1887 Electoral Count Act that designates the vice president as the official to preside over the meeting.
The lawsuit, which lists Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward among almost a dozen additional plaintiffs, claims that any action that declares Biden the winner of the election will be fraudulent.
“This civil action seeks an expedited declaratory judgment finding that the elector dispute resolution provisions in Section 15 of the Electoral Count Act, 3 U.S.C. §§ 5 and 15, are unconstitutional because these provisions violate the Electors Clause and the Twelfth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” the suit reads, according to ABC affiliate KLTV in Texas.
However, election experts note that the lawsuit has little chance of overturning the election.
“The idea that the Vice President has sole authority to determine whether or not to count electoral votes submitted by a state, or which of competing submissions to count, is inconsistent with a proper understanding of the Constitution,” Edward Foley, who teaches law at the Ohio State University, told The Hill.
“I’m not at all sure that the court will get to the merits of this lawsuit, given questions about the plaintiffs’ standing to bring this kind of claim, as well as other procedural obstacles,” he added.