Lankford says Biden needs intel briefings » Three Republican Senators are calling for Joe Biden to get the daily intelligence briefings normally offered to a president-elect.
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Marco Rubio of Florida, Mitt Romney of Utah, and James Lankford of Oklahoma, all say keeping the former vice president in the dark serves no purpose.
LANKFORD: There is no loss from him getting the briefings and being able to do that. And if that’s not occurring by Friday, I will step in as well to be able to push and say, this needs to occur, so that regardless of the outcome of the election, whichever way that it goes, people can be ready for that actual task.
But Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California says the briefings aren’t that important.
MCCARTHY: Joe Biden said, in regards to this, access to classified information is useful. But I’m not in a position to make any decisions on those issues anyway. So as I said, one president at a time.
With the election results still not certified in several states, the Trump administration continues to insist the election is not over. And until it is, the General Services Administration says it won’t treat Biden as the presumptive winner.
On Thursday, a Pennsylvania court sided with the Trump campaign in a challenge to provisional ballots. It ruled the secretary of state did not have the authority to extend the deadline for voters to provide proof of identification.
Following the disputed 2000 election, George W. Bush didn’t get his first intelligence briefing until December 5th. John Podesta was White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, he said Biden should not face the same delay Bush did. Podesta noted that just months after Bush took office, America suffered the worst terror attack in its history.
Biden picks chief of staff » Despite the ongoing election uncertainty, the Biden transition team is moving forward with plans to move into the White House. WORLD’s Paul Butler has that story.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Biden has selected Ron Klain to serve as his White House chief of staff. Klain led the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola crisis and also served as the former vice president’s chief of staff.
He has a long history with Biden, first working for him in the 1980s when Biden was a Senator from Delaware.
Biden called Klain an invaluable adviser with “varied experience” and a “capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum.”
In a statement following Biden’s announcement, Klaine said he was preparing to assemble a “talented and diverse team” to work in the White House.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.
GOP wins Senate, House seats in Alaska » Meanwhile, Republicans are another seat closer to reclaiming their Senate majority.
The Associated Press has called Alaska’s Senate race for Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan. That gives the GOP 50 seats in the upper chamber—one short of a majority. Control of the Senate will come down to Georgia’s two runoff elections, scheduled for January 5th.
With so much at stake, both parties are pouring money into the state. Strategists estimate interest groups could spend up to $500 million there in coming weeks. Although Democrats have made recent gains in Georgia, voters there have not sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 20 years.
The Alaska election also delivered Republicans one more seat in the House, bringing the GOP total there to 202. Democrats currently have 219 seats, one more than they need to retain the majority. Fourteen seats are still up for grabs.
U.S. troops killed in Egypt » Six U.S. service members died Thursday during a mission in the Middle East. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The troops were part of an international peacekeeping mission that monitors the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement over the Sinai Peninsula.
They were flying near the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh when their Black Hawk helicopter went down.
A French peacekeeper and Czech member of the force also died. The ninth member of the team—an American—suffered serious injuries.
Although Islamic militant groups are active in the region, the Multinational Force and Observers said it had no evidence of an attack. Investigators are working to determine what caused the accident.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
China response to Hong Kong lawmakers’ walkout » The Chinese government has condemned this week’s mass resignation of pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong. In a statement issued Thursday, Beijing accused the lawmakers of mounting a “blatant challenge to the power of the central government.”
Fifteen lawmakers in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council announced their intention to resign after Beijing removed four others earlier this week. China’s central government deemed them a threat to national security.
But pro-democracy lawmakers say that was just an excuse to silence opposition as Beijing consolidates its power in the former British colony.
WU: But today, and the days after, we have lost our check and balance power, and all the power—constitutional powers in Hong Kong remain in the hands of the chief executive’s hand.
Under a sweeping national security law adopted earlier this year, Hong Kong’s chief executive now has the power to remove lawmakers not deemed sufficiently patriotic.
Hong Kong retained its semi-autonomous status after Britain returned the city to China in 1997. But Beijing has slowly chipped away basic freedoms in Hong Kong, increasing pressure on anyone opposing closer ties with the mainland.