Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with a response from Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller.
In a move that reportedly “shocked” Defense Department officials, Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered Pentagon officials to cancel scheduled meetings with the transition of President-elect Joe Biden.
Axios revealed the cancellation of briefings but noted “officials were unsure what prompted Miller’s action” and they could not determine “whether President Trump approved” of the move.
A source at the Defense Department claims the move was nothing more than one of trying to limit a busy schedule.
“We had fewer than two dozen remaining meetings on the schedule today and next week,” the official told Axios.
“These same senior leaders needed to do their day jobs and were being consumed by transition activities. … With the holidays we are taking a knee for two weeks,” they added.
After an initial balking by the Trump administration to offer President-elect Biden intelligence briefings, things had been proceeding smoothly.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence had initially stated they would not interact with the Biden campaign to provide Biden Pentagon briefings until the General Services Administration (GSA) made an “ascertainment” on who won the election.
Since then, results have become official despite ongoing litigation and efforts by the President to contest the election.
With this move, however, Miller has reportedly left officials across the department “stunned.”
“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,” they write.
After the initial Axios report, the Acting Secretary of Defense put out a press release stating that the pause was mutually agreed upon by both camps, and is a holiday pause:
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.”
Several “MAGA leaders” have been called out by the media for suggesting Trump invoke the Insurrection Act, something the President has never said he would do.
Politico writes that the Insurrection Act can be used to deploy troops to suppress domestic uprisings. They add it is not meant to overturn elections.
“But that hasn’t stopped the act from becoming a buzzword and cure-all for prominent MAGA figures like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, two prominent pro-Trump attorneys leading efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and even one North Carolina state lawmaker,” they claim.
Indeed, North Carolina state Sen. Bob Steinburg (R), wrote on Facebook that “President Trump must declare a national emergency” due to unproven claims of voter fraud and “should also invoke the Insurrection Act.”
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was recently pardoned by President Donald Trump, has suggested implementing martial law.
“He (the President) could order the, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities, and he could place those in states and basically rerun an election in each of those states,” Flynn said.
He noted that martial law is not a unique concept.
“I mean, it’s not unprecedented. These people are out there talking about martial law like it’s something that we’ve never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times.”
President Trump has never indicated he would take either of these actions, and the Pentagon halting Biden briefings are no indication that something more shocking is at play.
The Pentagon official who spoke to Axios said, “We are still committed to a productive transition.”
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