Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Trump administration authorizes Biden transition


The General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process, CNN reported on Monday, citing to a letter from Administrator Emily Murphy.

The letter is the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge President Donald Trump's defeat.

It signals that Murphy will formally sign off on Biden's victory, a normally perfunctory process known as ascertainment. The move will allow the transition to officially begin, permitting current administration agency officials to coordinate with the incoming Biden team, and providing millions in government funding for the transition.

Murphy had so far refused to move forward with the ascertainment process, locking the President-elect's team out of speaking with federal agencies, noted CNN. Murphy, a Trump political appointee, has faced intense scrutiny and political pressure from Democrats and, in recent days, Republicans calling for the start of a smooth transition.

In her letter, Murphy stressed she had not been pressured by the White House to delay the formal transition and did not make a decision "out of fear or favoritism."

"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts," Murphy wrote. "I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official -- including those who work at the White House or GSA -- with regard to the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination."

Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of the Biden transition team, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

“In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies,” he added.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, confirmed that he had instructed Murphy to cooperate with Biden’s team but noted that he intends to continue his legal fight against the results of the election.

“I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same,” he tweeted.

The report came shortly after the Michigan State Board of Canvassers voted to certify Biden’s victory in the state.

The President continues to maintain there was widespread voter fraud in the November 3 election and has filed a number of challenges in different states.

On Sunday, the Trump campaign appealed a court decision rejecting its request for an injunction blocking the certification of the vote count in the key state of Pennsylvania.

A day earlier, a judge had rejected the Trump campaign’s request, accusing the Trump legal team of presenting “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations ... unsupported by evidence.”


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