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Why All Roads For Infrastructure Lead Through West Virginia

Reprinted with permission from DC Report

Moderate Republicans have announced a counter-offer to the Biden administration's $2 trillion-plus infrastructure proposal.

Led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the moderates put out a two-page glossy marketing blurb that significantly scales down Biden's package. It cuts critical infrastructure investment and has a price tag of $568 billion.

Some of the ways Republicans suggest going from $2 trillion to $568 billion are by cutting the investments in safe drinking water and essential repairs on public schools.

As it happens, Capito's own state of West Virginia is playing a pivotal role in hindering Biden from moving forward with his historic infrastructure package. The two senators from West Virginia—Capito and Joe Manchin (D-WV)—may be from opposing sides of the aisle, but they have each put up similar obstacles that the Biden team must navigate to get its much-needed infrastructure package through.

No Corporate Tax Increase

The common theme among the two West Virginian senators? Both senators are doing their best to ensure that wealthy corporations don't have to pay for the much-needed upgrades of the nation's infrastructure.

Their views ignore two big problems for the majority of their constituents: West Virginia desperately needs infrastructure improvements, and both senators promised constituents they were going to advocate for, not obstruct, it.

In a unique power dynamic, West Virginia's Manchin is the Democrats' major roadblock in passing Biden's plan by threatening to vote against the bill, while Capito is the GOP's point person in trying to severely trim a package that could add 2.7 million jobs.

Manchin's reasoning? He says he won't vote for the bill if the corporate tax rate is raised from the 21 percent rate enacted under Trump to 28 percent. The rate before Trump was 35 percent, so the Biden plan is a halfway restoration.

The GOP plan announced by Capito doesn't have any mention of corporate America paying for the plan. Instead, the GOP suggests that users of electric vehicles get taxed.

A 51-Vote Majority

The Senate parliamentarian ruled, that a simple majority of 51 Democrats can pass Biden's infrastructure package and some other legislation, circumventing the Senate's arcane filibuster rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation.

But this only works so long as all 50 Democrats are unified, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie.

That Democrat Manchin won't vote for the bill if the corporate tax is increased, the other West Virginia senator in a unique position. Capito is standing somewhere between Biden and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) The notoriously obstructionist Senate minority leader, McConnell vowed that no Republican will vote for Biden's proposal.

But McConnell will have an especially tough time corralling all Republicans. Many promised major infrastructure spending all throughout the Trump presidency but never delivered—not even when the party held majorities in both houses of Congress.

As far back at the Continental Congress, infrastructure spending has been the preferred bring-home-the-bacon move for representatives and senators. There are few less controversial ways to spread federal dollars on home-state projects.

And in recent months a loose, if tight-fisted, coalition of Republican senators has emerged, showing some willingness to stray from McConnell's sternly shepherded senatorial flock. In February, seven senators voted to convict in Dinald Trump's second impeachment trial. And 10 Republican senators, including Capito, proffered a Covid relief package that, like Thursday's infrastructure counteroffer, would have cost hundreds of billions less than Biden's.

Both Manchin and Capito say that they want to improve their desperately poor state's infrastructure. Twenty percent of West Virginia's bridges are deemed structurally deficient, the worst in the nation. West Virginia broadband quality and access rank 45 out of 50. And the state has the worst drinking water in the country.

In November, Manchin and Capito jointly secured a federal investment of $485,000 to improve water from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), a partnership between the federal government and 13 states. Biden just nominated Joe Manchin's wife Gayle Manchin to be the co-chair of ARC.

The two senators put out a joint statement taking credit for the ARC money, and Manchin promised to keep fighting for more "good-paying jobs and ensuring our fellow West Virginians have access to basic human needs such as clean drinking water."

Biden's infrastructure plan invests $111 billion to improve water infrastructure. So why isn't Manchin advocating for West Virginia's share of this historical and unprecedented level of investment?

"Everything that's being proposed is a drop in the bucket compared to what's needed," said Stephen Smith the co-chair of a group called WV Can't Wait.

Big Campaign Donors

Overall, Smith speaks of West Virginia with pride, but he also points to frustrations after 150 years of "outside interests getting rich off of West Virginia. First timber; then coal; now natural gas, agribusiness and Big Pharma."

So it's no surprise to Smith that Manchin may hold up national legislation to protect corporate interests, "His top donors are financiers, corporate leaders—he doesn't answer to the people of West Virginia. He's made a career of doing for those at the top."

Eric Engle, of the Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action Group, also supports Biden's infrastructure bill. He considers the climate change component of the bill a game-changer for the Mid-Ohio region.

"This infrastructure bill is an enormous start, and we support it." He points to all of the jobs it probably would create in West Virginia: "Good jobs, union jobs, family-supporting jobs, living wage jobs and all with a focus on a sustainable green economy."

Like Smith, Engle isn't surprised Manchin—whom he calls "DINO Joe," as in Democrat in Name Only—may block any investment:

"If you're a Democrat, why are you blocking your own party's initiatives? Why is it that the vast majority of the time you seem to be more supportive of the Republican objective?"

Arguably, since Trump overwhelmingly won in West Virginia, a Democratic senator is considered especially vulnerable in the state. Both Engle and Smith dismiss this as a media narrative not reflective of reality.

Manchin, who was governor before running for the Senate, is not up for re-election until 2024. "If he keeps holding up progress on the Democratic platform in the Senate," says Engle, "no West Virginia Democrats are going to vote to re-elect him."

Powerful Position

All this again puts Capito in an unusually strong bargaining position. Despite her own low-ball proposal, Capito is on the record saying there's plenty in the Biden plan that she likes. She expressed confidence after a February White House meeting with Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and last month she positively promoted parts of Biden's plan.

Capito is leading the infrastructure negotiations. But it remains to be seen whether she—like Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who led moderate Republicans to offer a severely downsized version of the Covid bill—will, in the end, choose to vote no if Biden turns down her skinflint counterproposal.

Unlike Collins, who had no particular dog in the Covid hunt, Capito has long tied her political fortunes to winning federal dollars for West Virginia improvements. To ultimately obstruct her very own pet projects would, no doubt, leave her with a lot to explain to folks back home.

If Biden and the Democrats find themselves scrambling for 50 votes, they might still have to make a pilgrimage to West Virginia—to woo Capito rather than Manchin.

They'll just have to hope that bridge doesn't collapse as they cross it.

How Elaine Chao Abused Her Cabinet Post To Enrich Her Family

Reprinted with permission from DC Report

In January 2017, upon confirmation as secretary of the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao committed to separating herself from her family's shipping interests. Looking back, it's clear she didn't.

During the Trump administration, itself awash with emoluments and ethics concerns, Chao's ability to gain financially flew mostly under the radar. Government watchdogs failed to challenge Chao's repeated wrongdoings.

Chao is married to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky.

The Chao family business is deeply entangled with Beijing. The family dry bulk ship company has borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Chinese banks, all of which are partly or fully owned by the Communist regime.

In 2019, Elaine Chao faced some criticism for public appearances with her family members that seemed to be elevating the profile of the family business long after she was sworn in as transportation secretary.

Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, said Chao's actions appeared to be a clear abuse of power. "This is the kind of thing you would use in a training class to teach government officials what a misuse of a position looks like," Shaub said. "This conduct falls into the category of extreme rather than gray."

Case Referred To Justice

What the public knew was minor, though, compared with the damning facts in a 38-page Department of Transportation inspector general report that was hidden until the Trump administration ended. That report revealed that in December 2020 the inspector general referred its findings about Chao's conduct to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

Attorney General William P. Barr, whose policy was to personally review all cases involving high-level Trump appointees, declined to prosecute Chao. A spokesman for Chao said that the Justice Department's decision not to prosecute "closes the book" on the issues and exonerates Chao.

Does it?

The inspector general made extensive findings that have astonished ethics officials in Washington, D.C., some of whom say they've never seen anything like it. The report shows clearly that numerous documented Chao actions could be felonies under federal laws designed to avoid official favoritism.

Significantly, during the four years Chao served our country, her family's shipping business did exceptionally well.

Her father, James Si-Cheng Chao, fled mainland China after Communists lead by Mao Zedong won the Chinese civil war in 1949. Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Kuomintang Party withdrew to Taiwan. James Chao and his wife Ruth Mulan Chu Chao went first to Taiwan, where Elaine, the oldest of six daughters, was born in 1953 in Taipei.

James Chao, a ship captain in his twenties, made his way to New York. In 1964 he started acquiring dry bulk ships, when he landed his first big contract with the U.S. government, shipping rice to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Often referred to as "Dr. Chao," he received an honorary degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2018.

The family's shipping firm, Foremost Group, operates mainly among the United States, Brazil, Canada, and China. More than 70 percent of its freight goes to China. The company has done so well that it donated $40 million for a building at the Harvard Business School named for Elaine Chao's mother, a graduate of that school.

The family business expanded substantially over the four years that Elaine Chao was in the Trump cabinet: Its growth was almost half a million dollars a day. When Chao assumed office in January 2017, the Foremost fleet was valued at half a billion dollars. Its value more than doubled: By the time Chao left office, its estimated worth was $1.8 billion, according to VesselsValue, a private vessel valuation service which shared its analysis with DCReport.

According to VesselsValue, the Chao family fleet in January 2017 consisted of 22 ships. After selling off some older ships and ordering new ones, the fleet will reach 32 vessels this summer.

Chao And McConnell See Net Worth Rise

Most of the wealth Chao and McConnell have disclosed in their annual government ethics filings comes from her inheritance when her mother died in 2007. She received as much as $25 million from her mother, those forms indicate.

Elaine Chao has no stake in the family business, a point emphasized by her staff in interviews with the inspector general. That is true, but misleading.

She still had a lucrative reason to use her government position to tout her father's shipping company. Her actions encouraged shippers to choose Foremost rather than competitors because of her ties to Trump, and helped the company expand because it became more attractive to mainland China and Taiwan bankers. So long as Chao remains in the good graces of her father, it is likely she stands to inherit a second time, along with her five sisters, a contingent interest that could be worth many tens of millions of dollars.

With that background, here are some telling examples of Elaine Chao using DOT as a promotional arm to build the profile and reputation of her family's Sino-American shipping empire. The inspector general's report focused on 14 events the secretary attended or planned to attend with her father between 2017-2018, including the 50th anniversary of the Department Transportation, among other instances of mixing family matters with her official duties, which included:

1. Chao planned a China trip in which she would be accompanied by her father James and sister Angela Chao, CEO of Foremost Group.

Draft itineraries included book signings and appearances for her father and her family joining her in official events and high-level meetings.

State Department personnel at the American embassy in Beijing were alarmed at this plan, which was a breach of well-developed protocols about mixing official duties and family business.

The trip ultimately was canceled because of diplomatic staff concerns.

While planning that trip, a transportation department official emailed the secretary about whether her father wanted to meet with a former classmate, thought to be former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Arranging such a meeting would not be appropriate conduct for a government agency.

2. Various department staffers were told to provide media and public affairs support to the secretary's father, even maintaining lists of his awards and creating a media strategy and public relations plan for him and Foremost Group.

Elaine Chao had her staff, on taxpayer time, edit a chapter from a book on her father, and she directed department public affairs staffers to edit her father's Wikipedia page. The department's public affairs director devised and recommended a strategy "amplifying the coverage in regional [Chinese] press, a means to build Chao's profile and to share the story of his journey."

3. Repeatedly DOT public affairs staffers arranged media coverage and coordinated photo opportunities for Elaine Chao and her father. They arranged targeted in-depth interviews with the secretary and her father intended solely for the Chinese market.

In one event where Elaine Chao was asked to speak, the former secretary first asked if they would be distributing 500 copies of her father's biography, Fearless Against the Wind.

When Elaine Chao was invited to be the keynote speaker at a maritime event, she asked the sponsors to give her father an award, evidently as a condition of her participation. Once the secretary got confirmation of an award for her father, she agreed to attend.

Arrangements for that event included placing a copy of her father's book on the chair of each gala attendee.

4. Elaine Chao asked staff to act as personal assistants for her and her family, especially her father.

They were instructed to organize repairs of James Chao's personal belongings, schedule personal appointments, FedEx Christmas ornaments to him – and send the secretary and her husband McConnell a list of those ornaments – and to get autographed photos for DOT files.

The inspector general's investigators interviewed DOT ethics lawyers, who revealed that "they had no record of a request to provide ethics advice" for a number of the specific events listed above. More often than not, Chao's top staff failed to bring potential conflicts to the attention of the ethics lawyers, as required by longstanding policy.

Ethics Policy Ignored

When ethics lawyers were consulted they emphasized how the secretary should minimize her connections to the Foremost Group and its transportation interests. The ethics lawyers outlined specific steps to ensure Elaine Chao's official government position was not conflated with Foremost in a way that gave advantage to the reputation and prestige of the family business.

Nevertheless, Chao cultivated her and her family's image in China. The New York Times reported that the secretary's official calendar showed at least 21 interviews or meetings with Chinese-language news organizations in her first year as transportation secretary.

Before Chao's confirmation, conflict-of-interest issues were raised. Her spokeswoman said no conflict existed because Elaine Chao had no "ownership stake" in Foremost. That statement ignored her contingent interest in a business with ships valued at more than a billion dollars, a business that would prosper if shippers believed choosing Foremost Group ships would curry favor with the Trump administration.

The Chao investigation started in June 2019 under the direction of acting Inspector General Mitchell Behm. In May 2020, after many on Chao's staff had been interrogated and the direction of the investigation had become clear Trump tried to remove Behm using the limited power presidents have to fire inspectors general.

The Inspector-General Act requires that an inspector general be appointed "without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability." The act was intended to, but in this case failed to, insulate inspectors general "from political retribution," a common Trump administration theme.

Behm was one of five inspectors general Trump attempted to remove as their staffs were digging into corruption in his administration. Trump was unable to remove Behm but had to wait for the Senate to confirm Trump's nominee to take over.

Trump's nominee as the new inspector general at DOT was the head of its pipelines safety office. The nominee was to retain his pipeline job while also becoming inspector general, an unusual arrangement putting a subordinate in a post that is supposed to be independent.

McConnell To the Rescue

Still in his acting position, seven months after Trump had tried to remove him, Behm sent Chao's file to the Justice Department with a referral for a criminal investigation. It was sent on December 16, 2020. After one DOJ office declined to open an investigation, the inspector general's report was sent to a differen DOJ office the next day.

The reaction was swift. That same day, December 17, McConnell, Chao's husband, abruptly brought to the Senate floor a vote to confirm Trump's nominee to be the new DOT inspector general.

The first vote failed but ultimately on December 21 the nominee was confirmed on a party-line vote of 48 to 47. That ended Behm's acting role. Of the five inspectors general that Trump tried to fire, the only one removed was the one investigating McConnell's wife. Behm has since returned to his previous position as deputy inspector general at the department.

On the last week Trump held office, his attorney general Bill Barr declined to prosecute Chao.

Whether the Biden administration will review that decision under Attorney General Merrick Garland is unknown.

Trump’s Intel Chiefs Hid Evidence Of Russian Meddling In 2020 Election

Reprinted with permission from DC Report

Lost in the news on the day of Trump's Insurrection was a devastating new watchdog report to Congress on the politicizing and distorting of intelligence during Donald Trump's time in office.

The analytic ombudsman, career intelligence community veteran Barry A. Zulauf, determined that under Trump national intelligence reports had become highly politicized. Important findings were suppressed to appease Trump's refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in American elections.

Zulauf's unclassified report paints a frightening picture of just how much the Trump administration skewed intelligence to suppress knowledge of interference by Russia in our 2020 elections.

From March 2020, in the critical months leading up to the elections, Zulauf "identified a long story arc of—at the very least—perceived politicization of intelligence."

Zulauf works in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a Cabinet-level position created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to oversee all U.S. intelligence operations. Zulauf's job within the ODNI was created by Congress to assist analysts throughout the intelligence community with complaints and concerns about politicization, biased reporting or lack of objectivity in intelligence analysis.

Zulauf determined that Trump's ODNI took "willful actions that… had the effect of politicizing intelligence, hindering objective analysis or injecting bias into the intelligence process."

While Zulauf tried to avoid specifically naming individuals responsible for much of the political heavy-handed rewriting, he repeatedly called out actions taken by two recent Trump appointees, neither who possessed any chops as intelligence experts.

One is a former acting director, Richard Grenell. He had been a Fox News commentator and Trump-appointed ambassador to Germany. He took over the ODNI in February 2020 then relinquished the post the following May.

The second was the Texas congressman Trump appointed to replace Grenell, John Ratcliffe. He is best known as a fervent defender of the ex-president in his first impeachment.

In one particularly egregious example, Zulauf wrote, Ratcliffe insisted on highlighting Chinese election interference while downplaying Russian efforts.

"Ratcliffe just disagreed with the established analytic line on China, insisting 'we are missing' China's influence in the US and that Chinese actions ARE intended to affect the election," Zulauf wrote. "Ultimately the DNI insisted on putting material on China in…. As a result, the final published [assessment], analysts felt, was an outrageous misrepresentation of their analysis."

The intelligence community has procedures to make sure assessments are based on sound judgment by seasoned analysts, not rogue points of view especially when they are not supported by facts.

The Senate Intelligence Committee requested the ombudsman review possible politicization of intelligence. Interestingly, Zulauf noted, he had his own review under way when the Senate Intelligence Committee request arrived. The ombudsman started his own investigation after he was approached by ombudsmen at three other agencies within the intelligence community. They acted because intelligence agency professionals and managers perceived problems and were getting internal complaints about the politicization of intelligence.

Helsinki Betrayal

The findings came 29 months after Trump declared in Helsinki, standing next to Vladimir Putin, that he trusted the Russian leader but not the American intelligence services.

By putting his trust in Putin, a former KGB colonel, saying that he took him at his word when he denied interfering in the 2016 presidential election, Trump reiterated his denunciations of American intelligence services.

Trump refused on most days to sit for his intelligence briefing, a closely guarded summary of worldwide threats to America and its allies. The report is prepared by experienced analysts based on reports from 17 American intelligence agencies, which feed material to Central Intelligence Agency for consideration.

The Presidential Daily Brief is tailored to each sitting president's style. Trump's brief was reduced to simplistic points, often illustrated with graphics. Russian actions against the United States were often left out or described obliquely to avoid provoking Trump.

Trump would have found even simplified daily briefings difficult to grasp given his ignorance about geopolitical affairs and history. For example, he once asked aides if Finland was part of Russia. He met with the Baltic presidents and confused their countries with the Balkans.

Mueller's Warning

While Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III was barred from investigating Trump's conduct as a counterintelligence matter, his office did look into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

On July 24, 2019, Mueller told the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees that Russia would continue interfering in our elections. "It was not a single attempt, [Russia's] doing it as we sit here," he testified. "And they expect to do it during the next campaign."

Yet eight months later, on March 10, 2020, in presenting the views of the intelligence community, William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), briefing members of Congress on election interference, said the opposite. He told lawmakers in a closed-door session for which summaries were released that there was no evidence that Russia had taken steps to help any candidate in the 2020 elections.

Analysts refer to talking points in these March statements, as well as subsequent statements in July, August and October 2020 as examples of "gross misrepresentation" of established intelligence community views.

The ombudsman's report attributed the rationale for these distortions and lies to the opposition they faced "getting their views on election interference across…in a confrontational environment."

But it did not assert that Trump directly ordered them. Several House managers noted during impeachment and Trump's better biographers have long noted that Trump gives direction the way mob bosses do to avoid culpability. Trump does not give a direct order, but expects people to interpret a wink and a nod or even just tone of voice.

Misleading Congress

The March assessment delivered to a House and Senate all-members meeting was brought by Evanina. Zulauf called this "the most egregious example" he uncovered of distorted intelligence.

When interviewed by the ombudsman, Evanina said he received his talking points from ODNI and National Intelligence Council (NIC) officials. He said that since they were directly from the ODNI and NIC he assumed the talking points represented the coordinated views of the intelligence community.

Zulauf said he could not find anyone at ODNI who wrote or contributed to the talking points Evanina used. The various individuals waved off the distortions on various excuses and reasons. Zulauf did not accuse them directly of lying and denying.

However, Zulauf said "red flags" were ignored. He took note of "widespread reluctance among intelligence professionals to deliver" assessments. "This reluctance on the part of seasoned IC [intelligence community] officers should have been a red flag but did not stop the statement from being issued."

Despite leadership's efforts to downplay any threat of Russian interference, the report was unequivocal on what U.S. intelligence analysts who specialized in Russia were seeing. It said, "Russia analysts assessed that there was clear and credible evidence of Russian election influence activities."

Analysts expressed frustration that political appointees were suppressing the actual intelligence because it was not well received at the Trump White House. The analysts told the ombudsman that their intelligence was being suppressed and politicized as the ODNI leaders cherry picked intelligence supporting a narrative that Trump wanted rather than presenting facts.

Mulvaney's Warning

The information contained in the report further supported a story in April 2019 by The New York Times about a warning by Mick Mulvaney, then-White House chief of staff. Mulvaney, it was reported, told Kirstjen Nielsen during her stint as head of the Department of Homeland Security not to speak with Trump about Russian attempts to interfere in future U.S. elections.

That revelation by journalists, now buttressed by Zulauf, illustrates how Trump's disregard for and suppression of intelligence assessments about Russian interference consistently made its way to the Cabinet and the highest levels of the intelligence community. It had a clear impact of how intelligence was written up and disseminated.

Zulauf wrote that in May 2020, the acting director of National Intelligence, Grenell, delayed the release of a memo for "politically motivated editing."

The changes "buried the lead," Zulauf wrote, regarding known election security threats. Analysts found intelligence community leadership consistently "watered down conclusions" and were "boosting the threat from China."

Overstating the threat from China also minimized, and distracted from, actual threats from Russia. Instead of speaking on Russia, leaders regularly pivoted instead to China.

In an interview on Oct. 6, 2020, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who heads the House Intelligence Committee, addressed similar statements by then Attorney General William P. Barr. Schiff is one of the "Gang of Eight," the bipartisan leaders in Congress who are regularly let in on the highest levels of intelligence. The attorney general had just asserted that China posed the greatest threat to U.S. elections based on intelligence he had seen.

Barr Called A Liar

"That's just a plain false statement by the attorney general, a flat-out false statement," Schiff said. "You can tell that Bill Barr is just flat-out lying to the American people, and it's tragic but it's as simple as that."

The United States spends hundreds of millions of dollars each day to monitor activities around the world, including efforts by China, Iran, Russia and other countries to probe government and business computer networks. The Russians are known to have the ability to open and close floodgates on American hydroelectric dams. That prompted us to quietly take actions against the Russian electric grids to make clear that any disruption of the dams would come with consequences.

Decades-Long Seduction

For decades, the Russians courted Trump, one of many prominent people around the globe sought by intelligence services as potential assets. A former KGB spy who had a cover working in Washington for the Russian government-controlled news agency TASS recently told The Guardian that Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset during 40 years.

When Trump became president, the Kremlin hit the biggest intelligence jackpot imaginable. The first known payoff came in May 2017, just weeks after Trump took his oath to defend America against foreign enemies.

Trump held an unannounced meeting in the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador. In that meeting Trump revealed the most sensitive intelligence material, known as sources and methods.

Disclosing sources and methods would naturally discourage friendly governments from sharing many of their own intelligence findings. Their spies and ways of uncovering information could be compromised, even ruined, with the potential that the spies would be assassinated by the Russian government.

We know this because the Russians announced what Trump had done. The same government-controlled TASS news agency released photos of a smiling Trump with the two grinning Russian officials taken by a Russian photographer who was let into the Oval.

The Russian officials, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, are, like Putin, trained spies.

President Joe Biden's announcement on Feb. 5 that he will not grant Trump the courtesy of intelligence briefings was summarized by Schiff as an important move to protect America's national security.

Schiff tweeted: "Donald Trump politicized and abused intelligence while he was in office. Donald Trump cannot be trusted with America's secrets. Not then, and certainly not now. Americans can sleep better at night knowing he will not receive classified briefings as an ex-president."