Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller has ordered a halt to cooperation at the Pentagon level with the move of President-elect Biden, which shocked Defense Department officials, senior administration officials told the Axios website.
Last: Biden interim director Johannes Abraham contradicted the Pentagon’s official response to this story on Friday afternoon, telling reporters, “Let me be clear: There was no reciprocal agreement about Holiday.”
- And Abraham continued, referring to the Trump administration’s delay in recognizing Biden as president – choose.
- Miller said in statement After publishing this story: “The administration has not at any time canceled or refused any interview … After the holiday agreed between the two parties, which begins tomorrow, we will continue moving and rescheduling the meetings starting today.”
behind the scenes: Trump administration officials have left the door open to the possibility of resuming cooperation after a break on the holiday. Officials were not sure why Miller had moved, or whether President Trump approved of it.
why does it matter: Miller’s move, which stunned officials across the Pentagon, was the biggest revolution yet in hostility and distrust toward the Biden team from the Trump administration’s highest levels.
- Anger at Biden’s team mounted among top Pentagon officials after the publication of The Washington Post a story On Wednesday evening he revealed how much money would be saved if Biden halted construction of Trump’s border wall.
- Trump officials blame the Biden transition team for the leak (although it should be noted that they have no evidence of this, and both correspondents on the byline cover the Trump administration and have historically been profuse beneficiaries of the leaks).
what happened: Meetings between President Trump’s team and the Biden team continue across the government, after a late start as the administration was slow to formally recognize Biden as the president-elect.
- Then on Thursday night, Miller – who was appointed on November 9, when Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper just after the election – ordered officials across the building to cancel scheduled transition meetings.
A senior official at the Ministry of Defense He sought to downplay the importance of this step, describing it as a “slight delay of the last few scheduled meetings until after the new year.”
- “We had less than twenty meetings remaining in the schedule today and next week,” the official said, adding that “Defense Ministry employees who work in the meetings are overwhelmed by the number of meetings.”
- “These same great leaders needed to do their daily jobs and transition activities were consuming them … With the holidays, we leave the knee for two weeks. We are still committed to a fruitful transition.”
This story has been updated with responses from Miller, the Biden move and new details about the frustration in the Biden team over the Washington Post story.