Officials of the Trump administration and the Biden transition team were trading accusations over the status of some scheduled meetings over national security.
Biden spokesperson Yohannes Abraham directly contradicted acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller’s claims that the two teams “mutually agreed” to pause the interviews until after the holiday. Axios had reported that 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.
Biden’s spokesperson Abraham said there was no mutual agreement to pause and said he wanted the meetings to resume immediately.
Miller’s response was that at no time had the Pentagon canceled or declined any interviews and was committed to the transition.
Meetings planned for Friday were postponed due to “rapidly changing priorities here,” said a defense official, citing the FDA’s approval of a second coronavirus vaccine, a possible government shutdown, and a massive hack of U.S. government agencies.
Citing six meetings next week, the official said the “pause” is a slowdown and not a halt. Miller said the meetings will be back “in full swing” after the holidays.
Abraham maintains that the transition team was informed on Thursday that the meetings were canceled and called the DoD “recalcitrant.”
This would be the second time in three weeks that the Pentagon has had to address reports that defense officials blocked requests of the Biden transition team.