Sen. James Lankford says he did, in fact, step in and inquire about President-elect Biden receiving intelligence briefings after pledging to do so last week.
Speaking to CNN Monday, Lankford (R-Okla.) made the admission after being asked about his comments last week in which he pledged to “step in” if Biden was not being briefed by Friday.
“I did step in. I did talk to them on Friday,” the Oklahoma Republican told the network, declining to elaborate on who he had spoken to specifically, “My staff has been involved; I’ve been involved.”
Lankford, who leads the Senate subcommittee that conducts oversight on the General Services Administration, which has yet to officially green-light the presidential transition process, said that he spoke to the agency about the process of determining who is the president-elect.
“We talked through the process, where they’re coming from. I talked through what I see is a good process, but I’m just not going to go into all the details,” he told the network.
The comments are the second from the Oklahoma senator since his pledge to get involved last Wednesday gained attention.
Speaking to local station KRMG last week, Lankford argued that, “There’s nothing wrong with Vice President Biden getting the briefings to be able to prepare himself so that he can be ready.”
“There’s nothing wrong with a former vice president getting those. Kamala Harris is on the Intelligence Committee, she has all the clearance she needs to be able to do that. There is no loss from him getting the briefings. If that’s not occurring by Friday, I will step in to be able to push them and say this needs to occur, so that regardless of the outcome of the election … people can be ready for that task,” he said.
Speaking to Newsmax TV in an interview over the weekend though, Lankford blamed the media for blowing his comments out of proportion.
“I’m not in a hurry, necessarily, to get Joe Biden these briefings. It’s been interesting how the media, the national media — not this network, but others — have twisted this term ‘step in.’ I happen to chair the committee that oversees GSA. That is the entity that has to be able to make this call.”
“This race is not even close to being counted yet. So what I said I was going to step in on Friday is: How are you doing it? What are your metrics? How are you making decisions? What is the process? Those are the basic things. That’s basic oversight, what a member of the Senate would do,” he continued.
“And other networks blew this up, saying ‘Oh my gosh, there’s this Republican senator that’s now shifting away and is reporting Joe Biden now to be president or opposed to the president,” the senator added.
A spokesperson for Lankford could not immediately be reached by The Post for comment.
Every major news outlet in the country called the 2020 election race for Biden, who has surpassed the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to ascend to the White House, but President Trump has refused to concede. The election has not been certified as there are ongoing legal proceedings contesting the tally.
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