The Biden transition team has been busy in recent weeks announcing a slew of new cabinet picks, as well as working with groups within the U.S. government to come up to speed on a number of issues.
But according to a bombshell Axios report, acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller reportedly called an immediate halt between Pentagon briefings with Biden’s transition team, claiming that a mutual agreement was in place to pause the meetings as both groups head into the holiday season.
What really happened
It’s still unclear exactly why the talks between the Pentagon and Biden’s transition team were paused, although a senior Department of Defense official told Axios the move was “a simple delay of the last few scheduled meetings until after the new year.”
Most other officials were not privy to why the talks actually stopped or even if President Donald Trump had authorized or been made aware of the situation prior to the announcement.
After the Axios report sent shock waves through both parties involved, Miller released a statement on the developing situation.
“At no time has the Department 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,” he said.
The controversial move comes amidst Trump and his allies refusing to acknowledge Biden as the winner of the 2020 election, leading many to reportedly believe that cutting off Biden’s team was meant to undermine in some way.
Transition team’s response
The other side of the story comes from the top level of Biden’s transition team, which claimed there was absolutely not a mutual decision to take a holiday break before resuming normal briefings.
“Let me be clear: there was no mutually agreed upon holiday break,” said Biden transition director Yohannes Abraham.
He continued, “In fact, we think it’s important that briefings and other engagements continue during this period as there’s no time to spare, and that’s particularly true in the aftermath of ascertainment delay.”
Abraham claimed the transition team has faced “isolated resistance” from some of the political appointees in the Pentagon, according to The Washington Times. The Times also reported that Abraham said some “career officials” within the Department of Defense have made legitimate attempts to be as helpful as possible.
As of this writing, it’s still unclear as to whether or not the meetings will resume, although Abraham seemed to think they will. “As indicated by DoD earlier today, we expect that decision will be reversed,” he said in response to the controversy.