President Joe Biden has said his predecessor Donald Trump should not be given access to intelligence briefings because of his "erratic behaviour". US President Joe Biden is refusing to give former president Donald Trump access to intelligence briefings. Photo: AFP The US has a tradition of allowing former presidents to be briefed on the nation's security issues - as a courtesy extended by the incumbent. But when asked by CBS News if Trump would receive the same courtesy, President Biden said: "I think not". He cited Trump's "erratic behaviour" as his reason for refusing access. "I don't think there's any need for him to have an intelligence briefing," Biden said in his first sit-down interview since becoming president. He declined to speculate on what his worst fears would be if Trump were allowed to see classified reports, but he suggested the former president could not be trusted to keep confidential information to himself. "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. The move is the first time a former president has been excluded from the tradition of being granted continued access to the briefings, according to the New York Times. For weeks after the 3 November presidential election, Trump himself broke with tradition by failing to include his successor in security and intelligence briefings. Trump eventually agreed to allow the formal transition process to take place, but his administration was still accused of blocking Biden's access to intelligence. Trump feuded with the intelligence community throughout his four-year presidency and went through six national intelligence directors. He questioned reports by US agencies that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election, and assailed intelligence chiefs for being "extremely passive and naive" over Iran. In 2017, he disclosed highly classified information to Russia's foreign minister about an Islamic State operation in what was seen as a breach of trust by many in the US intelligence community. During his CBS interview, Biden was asked about the impeachment trial Trump is facing in the US Senate for his role in the riot at the Capitol in Washington on 6 January. Biden said he "ran like hell to defeat" Trump in the election "because I thought he was unfit to be president", but he would leave the Senate to decide whether the Republican should be barred from ever holding public office again. Fox cancels vocal Trump supporter Lou Dobbs' show US broadcaster Fox has cancelled the TV programme hosted by Lou Dobbs, a vocal Trump supporter who is accused of using his platform to spread baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election. The news emerged a day after Dobbs was named in a defamation lawsuit filed by the voting machine maker Smartmatic. The $US2.7 billion lawsuit claims the presenter was part of a "disinformation campaign" against the company. Fox, which denies the allegations, says the decision to drop Lou Dobbs Tonight was not linked. The veteran financial journalist, 75, has presented Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Network since 2011. He was also an occasional commentator on Fox News, the conservative channel that has been home to several staunch supporters of Trump. - BBC
Former US President Donald Trump’s lawyers rejected a request from Democrats to testify at his impeachment trial in the US Senate next week.
Democrats in the House of Representatives accuse Trump of inciting insurrection when he urged supporters to “fight” his election defeat before they stormed the Capitol on 6 January, fought with police and sent lawmakers scrambling for safety.
Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.
“The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding,” Trump adviser Jason Miller told Reuters. In an open letter, Trump’s attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, called the request a “public relations stunt.”
The attorneys this week rejected the impeachment charge and asserted that Trump’s claims his 3 November election defeat was the result of widespread fraud – which were baseless – were protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Democratic lawmaker Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, wrote in a letter to the Republican Trump and his attorney inviting the former president, who left office on 20 January, to provide testimony under oath.
“If you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021,” Raskin wrote.
Castor told Reuters that Trump was within his rights in rejecting the request.
“The burden is on the House to prove their case,” Castor said. “I’m not going to help them meet their burden.”
Several senators said it would have been a bad idea for Trump to testify. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a vocal Trump ally, told reporters: “I don’t think that would be in anybody’s interest.”
For two months after losing his re-election bid to Democratic President Joe Biden, Trump loudly argued that he lost due to rampant electoral fraud, claims that were rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.
Trump’s lawyers and most Republican senators have challenged the constitutionality of the trial. They have said the Senate does not have the authority to hear the case because Trump has already left office and cannot be removed.
Such an argument would allow Republican senators – who hold half the seats in the chamber – to vote against Trump’s conviction on procedural concerns instead of directly supporting his comments.
A two-thirds majority of the 100-member Senate would have to support the charge to convict Trump, meaning 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats in backing it.
The Senate impeachment trial of Trump, the first US president to be impeached twice, is due to begin on Tuesday (US time).
Trump’s first impeachment trial, on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress after he appeared to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, resulted in an acquittal last year by the Senate, where Republicans held the majority at the time and denied Democrats’ attempts to present witnesses.