Obama warns Trump not to spread details
of security briefings
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[August 05, 2016]
By Jeff Mason and Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack
Obama confirmed on Thursday that Donald Trump will get national security
briefings ahead of the November election, but he warned the Republican
candidate, whom he has called "unfit" for office, that information from
the meetings must be kept secret.
Obama, a Democrat who endorsed his former Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton in the 2016 White House race, has made clear his dismay over
Trump, a New York businessman who has proposed temporarily banning
Muslims from entering the United States and building a wall on the U.S.
border with Mexico.
On Tuesday Obama questioned why leading Republicans have not withdrawn
their support for their presidential nominee. On Thursday he dismissed
as ridiculous Trump's claims that the election may be rigged.
"Of course the elections will not be rigged. What does that mean?" Obama
said with exasperation. "If Mr. Trump is up 10 or 15 points on Election
Day and ends up losing, then maybe he can raise some questions. That
doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment."
Trump is trailing Clinton in polls.
Despite his disdain, Obama said Trump would get the top secret briefings
on world crises and security threats to which he, Clinton and their
respective vice presidential running mates are entitled.
Some Republicans have said Clinton should be denied access to such
briefings because of her handling of classified material on a private
email server while she was secretary of state.
Obama on Thursday, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, made clear
that both candidates would be treated equally.
"We are going to go by the law, which is that, in both tradition and the
law, that if somebody is the nominee ... they need to get a security
briefing so that if they were to win, they are not starting from scratch
in terms of being prepared," Obama said.
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President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the Pentagon in
Arlington, Virginia, U.S. August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
"What I will say is that they have been told these are classified
briefings," he added, in response to a question about whether he was
concerned about Trump obtaining the classified information. "And if
they want to be president, they got to start acting like president,
and that means being able to receive these briefings and not spread
Trump has placed blame on Clinton and Obama for the rise of Islamic
State, also known as ISIS.
"The Obama-Clinton foreign policy gave rise to ISIS, made Iran flush
with cash, and is now admitting vast numbers of refugees and
migrants into the United States from some of the most volatile
regions in the world," Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller
said in a statement.
"But none of this is surprising from an Administration that allowed
its Secretary of State to threaten the country with a private email
server, delete her records, and lie about it to us all," Miller
Obama, who was meeting with his national security advisers about the
fight against Islamic State, also made a subtle jab at Trump for his
dispute with a Muslim couple whose U.S. Army captain son died in
Iraq. Obama lauded "patriotic Muslim Americans" who fight in the
U.S. armed forces.
(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Steve Holland; Editing
by Leslie Adler)
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