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Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty

President-elect Joe Biden said Monday that his team has "encountered obstruction" and "roadblocks" from political leadership at the Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget that could undermine national security during the transition.

Why it matters: Biden warned that foreign adversaries could gain advantage if his team is cut out of vital information sharing with the outgoing Trump administration. Before Christmas, the Pentagon abruptly halted meetings with transition officials.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said in response: "Our DoD political and career officials have been working with the utmost professionalism to support transition activities in a compressed time schedule and they will continue to do so."

Biden said in remarks delivered after a briefing with his national security and foreign policy advisers: "From some agencies, our team received exemplary cooperation ... from others, most notable, the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department."

  • "Right now, as our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the handoff between administrations. My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies."
  • "We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch up that our adversaries may try to exploit."
  • "Right now, we just aren't getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It's nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility."

Miller's statement began: "The Department of Defense has conducted 164 interviews with over 400 officials, and provided over 5,000 pages of documents — far more than initially requested by Biden’s transition team."

  • "DoD’s efforts already surpass those of recent administrations with over three weeks to go, and we continue to schedule additional meetings for the remainder of the transition and answer any and all requests for information in our purview."

Go deeper: Pentagon halts Biden transition briefings

Editor's note: This story was updated with the Defense Department statement.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Hundreds of Biden staffers receive COVID vaccine

Screenshots of an email inviting White House staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, obtained by Alayna Treene/Axios

A week into the job, President Biden's White House medical team has administered the coronavirus vaccine to several hundred staffers — and aims to vaccinate all in-person staff over the next few weeks, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The new administration is ramping up steps to protect President Biden and all staff working inside the White House complex. The administration is also requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times.

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Biden sets his sights on China

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images  

The new administration's first few moves and statements on China suggest that President Biden may continue some of the Trump era's most assertive policies.

Why it matters: China's severe domestic repression, its dramatic rise as a technological superpower, and its increasingly aggressive actions around the globe mean that the world expects the American president to take action.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.