The Pentagon 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.
The Deep state was caught off guard with today’s announcement.
Pentagon abruptly halts Biden transition—- MAKES NO SENSE. CLAIM THEY ARE OVERWHELMED. DOD GOES OPAQUE. TRUMP-MILLER UP TO NO GOOD. DANGER. —-https://t.co/mIcmaf5lFD
— Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) December 18, 2020
UPDATE — The Pentagon and liberal media are downplaying the news.
DoD pushes back on AXIOS scoop that Acting Pentagon Defense Secretary halts Biden transition briefings – says Miller asked for 1 day pause and both teams agreed to two week break over the holidays. Expecting statement soon. https://t.co/e24S9BM6qT
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) December 18, 2020
UPDATE: Acting Secretary Miller released a statement earlier today.
Statement by Acting Secretary of Defense Miller:
The Department of Defense will continue to provide all required support to the Agency Review Team (ART) to keep our nation and her citizens safe. As of today, we have supported 139 interviews sessions more than 200 DoD personnel, 161 requests for information, and disclosed thousands of pages of non-public and classified documents, exceeding prior transitions. At no time has the Department cancelled or declined any interview.
Our key focus in the next two weeks is supporting essential requests for information on OWS and COVID-19 information to guarantee a flawless transition. This is my major focus area.
After the mutually-agreed upon holiday pause, which begins tomorrow, we will continue with the transition and rescheduled meetings from today.
Again, I remain committed to a full and transparent transition – this is what our nation expects and the DoD will deliver AS IT ALWAYS HAS.”