WASHINGTON – The Trump administration on Monday cleared the way for President-elect Joe Biden to begin his official transition, allowing Biden’s team access to briefings, office space, secure computers and other government services needed for the transfer of power.
The announcement by Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, was an official acknowledgment of President Donald Trump’s administration that Biden had won the November 3 election, despite the president’s unwillingness to agree and continuing to unfounded allegations of voter fraud.
The GSA holds the keys to the transitional funds and assets, but Murphy delayed the issuance of a formal resolution recognizing Biden’s victory as the Trump campaign launched a number of lawsuits against the results.
Murphy’s letter to Biden came hours after Michigan’s four-member election board voted 154,187 votes to win Biden’s victory in that state. And on Friday, the Georgian Republican governor, after a manual recount, validated the results of his state, which ended in Biden, with about 12,000 votes ahead of Trump. Biden won 306 voter votes for Trump’s 232 votes, and 270 presidential votes are needed to get the presidency.
In a couple of tweets, Trump said he gave him a green light Murphy’s decision, because it was “in the interests of our country.” But Trump said he continues to dispute the results.
In recent days, a growing chorus of national security officials, business leaders, and even Republicans in Congress have said the Trump government’s delay in allowing the transition to begin is a threat to U.S. national security.
“When you’re in public, people remember your last thing,” Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, said on Monday. He said he hoped Trump would “be proud of his significant achievements, prioritize the country and make an immediate and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.V. also urged Trump to work together for a smooth transition, saying there was no reference to widespread voter fraud and “sometime the 2020 elections must end”.
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For Democrats, Monday’s decision brought relief.
“This is probably the closest that a concession can be made by President Trump,” Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer of New York said. “Now we can all – Democrats and Republicans, the Trump administration and the incoming Biden government – unite for a smooth and peaceful transition that benefits America.”
Biden’s transitional team also applauded the move, calling it a “final decision” and “orderly power” for an orderly transfer of power.
“Today’s decision is a necessary step to begin addressing the challenges facing our nation, including keeping the pandemic under control and putting our economy on track,” said Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
Abraham said Biden’s interim officials would begin a meeting in the coming days with leaders of key federal agencies to discuss the response to the pandemic, report on U.S. national security interests, and “gain a full understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to evacuate government agencies.”
Meanwhile, Trump portrayed it as a smaller step. “Our case continues STRONGLY, we continue to have a good fight, and I think we will make it happen!” he wrote on Twitter. “Nevertheless, in the interest of our country, I suggest that Emily and her team do the initial protocols and tell my team to do the same.”
Nevertheless, there is no question that Murphy’s written determination undermines Trump’s protest that the election was unfair and that Biden’s victory is not legitimate.
His official statement will free up more than $ 6 million for Biden’s transition team, which he can use to recruit staff, pay travel expenses and cover other expenses. Perhaps more importantly, Biden’s team will now have automatic access to information from key federal agencies, including information on the COVID-19 response and vaccine deployment plans.
The amount of work done on a typical handover is monumental and will now be even greater as the country struggles with the COVID epidemic and the economic crisis. Biden and his team must deal with national security threats, budget more than $ 4 trillion, and hold more than 4,000 political positions at dozens of federal agencies.
The GSA, which manages federal buildings and leases, plays a key role in ensuring a smooth transition from one president to another.
Murphy said Trump did not press him to restrain the official finding.
“Please note that I made my own decision based on the decision and the facts available,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden. “I have never been directly or indirectly pressured by a Board official, including those working in the White House or the GSA, about the content or timing of my decision.”
But Murphy said he received threats “online, over the phone and in the mail, to my safety, my family, my co-workers and even my favorites, in order to force me to make that decision ahead of time. He has always been committed to thousands of people. I was in compliance with the law. “
Trump’s allegations of electoral abuse contradict the findings of the National Coalition of Election Security Officials, which concluded that the November 3 general election was “the safest in American history.”
“There is no evidence that any voting system has canceled or lost its votes, changed its votes, or been compromised in any way,” the security group said in a statement by Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security cyber security agency and the National Association of National Electoral Directors.
Other key steps in the coming weeks to prepare the way for Biden’s next presidency:
• The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on December 14, with each delegation meeting separately in each state and voting on paper on the President and Vice-President.
• Congress will hold a joint meeting on January 6, 2021 to count the votes and announce the results.
• Bident and elected Vice President Kamala Harris are inaugurated on January 20, 2021, at a ceremony likely to be held next to the Capitol. The Vice-President takes the oath for the first time and the new President follows at noon.
The GSA has the keys to the Trump-Biden transition. What is that?
This article was originally published in the US TODAY: GSA Emily Murphy clears the way for Joe Biden’s transition to begin