Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden should be getting access to classified intelligence briefings.
“Yeah, I think he should,” Graham, a close Trump ally, told CNN when asked if he believed the incoming president should be receiving the briefings following earlier reports that the Trump administration had denied Biden access to documents and other resources needed to ensure a smooth transfer of power.
Graham told CNN on Thursday “I hope so,” when asked if he expects Biden will get the briefings soon, adding that he had not voiced his opinion with the White House.
The comments follow a pledge by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) on Wednesday to “step in” if the Trump administration continued to deny Biden access to intelligence briefings. Lankford, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told a local radio station that he saw “nothing wrong” with allowing Biden access to the briefings in order to “be able to prepare himself” for the presidency.
The comments seem to indicate a pivot for Graham who previously defended Trump’s effort to fight in court to whittle away at Biden’s victory, parroting on Fox News on Sunday that dead people had cast ballots in Pennsylvania — a conspiracy theory that Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt (R) promptly debunked.
The admission by Graham also follows the modest acknowledgement by Republican colleague Sen. Rob Portman (OH) who also told CNN, “yeah, I don’t think that would hurt,” for Biden to start getting the briefings.
Graham and Portman joined a small cohort of Republicans who say Biden should have access to classified briefings, as other GOP allies remain in an alternate reality of denial about Trump’s defeat, even suggesting that Trump still has a chance of winning an election that has been over for nearly one week when on Saturday Biden was declared President-elect by every major news organization.