A new report from Axios suggests that President Donald Trump has dropped the hammer on Joe Biden and put a stop to all scheduled defense briefings for the incoming administration — but the Trump Department of Defense is reportedly saying otherwise.
Axios first alleged Friday that acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller had “ordered a Pentagon-wide halt to cooperation with the transition of President-elect Biden, shocking officials across the Defense Department.”
The report, from Axios’ Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan, cited unnamed “senior administration officials” to allege that the move added to what has long been a pattern of “animus and mistrust” between the Trump and Biden camps.
“The officials were unsure what prompted Miller’s action, or whether President Trump approved,” Axios’ report noted.
DoD pushes back
According to the Daily Caller, however, the break in the briefings has nothing to do with “animus,” and is simply due to the holiday season.
“We had fewer than two dozen remaining meetings on the schedule today and next week,” an unnamed Defense Department official said, according to the Daily Caller. “These same senior leaders needed to do their day jobs and were being consumed by transition activities.”
The official went on: “With the holidays we are taking a knee for two weeks. We are still committed to a productive transition.”
Axios doubles down
The Axios report was also swiftly rebutted by Miller himself, who said in a statement that the Defense Department never “canceled or declined any interview.”
“After the mutually-agreed upon holiday, which begins tomorrow, we will continue with the transition and rescheduled meetings from today,” Miller added, according to Axios.
Citing another source in the Defense Department, Politico’s Lara Seligman also said Axios report was “inaccurate,” and that “one day’s worth of meetings was rescheduled but ‘transition activities’ are still happening. The holiday break was agreed to by both parties,” she explained.
Still, according to the Daily Caller, Axios’ Swan maintains that his version of events — unsubstantiated by anyone willing to go on the record — is the right one.
Contrary to this Pentagon spin, there was NOTHING routine about this decision. Senior Trump officials have been furious at the Biden team, privately blaming them for leaks, and this decision was discussed last night with the White House. https://t.co/tH6741ifwV
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) December 18, 2020