The Pentagon reportedly discontinued briefings with the Biden Transition Team on Friday morning.
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered a Pentagon-wide halt to cooperation with the transition of President-elect Biden, shocking officials across the Defense Department, senior administration officials tell Axios.
Behind the scenes: A top Biden official was unaware of the directive. Administration officials left open the possibility cooperation would resume after a holiday pause. The officials were unsure what prompted Miller’s action, or whether President Trump approved.
Why it matters: Miller’s move, which stunned officials throughout the Pentagon, was the biggest eruption yet of animus and mistrust toward the Biden team from the top level of the Trump administration.
What happened: Meetings between President Trump’s team and the Biden team are going on throughout the government, after a delayed start as the administration dragged its feet on officially recognizing Biden as president-elect.
Then on Thursday night, Miller — who was appointed Nov. 9, when Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper right after the election — ordered officials throughout the building to cancel scheduled transition meetings.
However, Department of Defense pushed back on AXIOS scoop, saying Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller asked for 1 day pause and both teams agreed to two week break over the holidays.
Trump to meet with Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller in the Oval Office later
Acting Director of Defence Miller is meeting with President Trump at 3:30 PM in the Oval Office in the same day.
Meanwhile, The Director of National Intelligence, which serves as head of the US Intelligence Community that includes the Department of Defense, announced on Wednesday that “a number of agencies have not finished coordinating on the product”.
The role of China in the presidential election was reportedly behind the delay in the classified report to Congress on foreign interference in the 2020 election missing the 18 December deadline.
Set by an Executive Order signed in September 2018 called “Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election”, it gives Mr Trump the ability to impose wide-ranging sanctions against whoever is identified in the report, which includes seizing property, restricting access to financial institutions, and “any other measures’ under the law.