White House Supports Intelligence Briefing for Donald Trump

Concerns have been raised by some intelligence officials and top Democrats.

ByDEVIN DWYER
July 28, 2016, 3:59 PM
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking during a campaign rally at Lackawanna College, July 27, 2016, in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking during a campaign rally at Lackawanna College, July 27, 2016, in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Jake Danna Stevens/The Times & Tribune/AP Photo

— -- The White House made clear today that Donald Trump will receive the classified intelligence briefing customarily provided to the presidential nominees of each party, despite concerns raised by some current and former intelligence officials and top Democrats on Capitol Hill.

"The Director of National Intelligence has indicated he intends to conduct those briefings pursuant to that long-standing tradition. He certainly is supported by this administration and this White House in doing so," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said today.

Intelligence officials have told ABC News the briefing for Republican nominee Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could happen as soon as next week.

"If you’re forced to brief this guy, don’t tell him anything. Just fake it, because this man is dangerous,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said in an interview Wednesday. He has urged the administration to restrict classified information provided to Trump.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote directly to Obama Wednesday asking him to "suspend Mr. Trump's access to these briefings" in light of his recent statements about Russia and hacking. (Trump has said he was being sarcastic.)

Earnest said the briefings are necessary to ensure a "smooth transition" to the next president, whoever it may be, and that the intelligence community could mitigate concerns about security.

They "can both provide relevant and sufficient briefings to the two major party presidential candidates, while also protecting sensitive national security information," he said.

The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has said that both nominees would receive the same information in their briefings.

"That certainly seems appropriate," Earnest said.

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