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US: Joe Biden's transition team expresses concern over tensions with Defense Department

News Agencies | Updated on: 19 December 2020, 10:25 IST

US President-elect Joe Biden's transition team on Friday expressed concern regarding an 'abrupt halt' in cooperation with the Defense Department, according to The Hill.

US media reported that acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller ordered a halt in cooperation with Biden's transition amid frustration within President Donald Trump's administration with the President-elect's team.

"We were concerned to learn this week about an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there, and as indicated by Department of Defense (DoD) earlier today, we expect that decision will be reversed," Biden transition executive director Yohannes Abraham said in a briefing.

Abraham also refuted claims of mutual agreement on any holiday break, saying there was no time to spare in continuing briefings and other engagements during this period.

During his briefing, Abraham mentioned that the team has met isolated resistance in some corners including the DoD, and said that the cancelled meetings had 'immediately and appropriately escalated' the issue.

The Pentagon acknowledged that about 20 meetings with 40 officials were being rescheduled until after January 1, but insisted that cooperation with Biden's team was continuing, saying that the change was part of a mutually agreed pause for the holiday season, The Hill reported.

"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," said Miller in a statement on Friday.

The acting Defense Secretary also insisted that the Department has not cancelled or declined any interview with the Biden transition and that 139 meetings with 265 officials have already been conducted, according to The Hill.

Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported the Trump administration was blocking meetings between transition officials and intelligence agencies that fall under the Pentagon's control, including the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

This comes after the US Electoral College certified Biden's win in the presidential elections, amid repeated allegations of voter fraud made by Trump.


First published: 19 December 2020, 10:25 IST