GSA Begins Formal Transition Process To Biden-Harris Team

( While President Donald Trump isn’t quite ready to concede the election, his administration is beginning the process of the transition to President-elect Joe Biden.

On Monday, the General Services Administration told Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formation process of transition. Emily Murphy, the administrator of the GSA, informed the Biden team via letter of its intent.

Trump himself even tweeted that he’d instructed Murphy to reach out to the Biden team to begin the transition.

For her part, Murphy said she wasn’t pressured by the White House to delay the transition to Biden. She said she also didn’t make a decision “out of fear or favoritism.”

In her letter, Murphy wrote:

“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by an 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.”

Until Monday, Murphy didn’t move forward with ascertainment (the formal term for the sign-off on the president-elect’s victory). In her letter, she said the rules for doing so were vague, and she believed they needed to be updated. She wrote:

“GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified. These are issues that the Constitution, federal laws, and state laws leave to the election certification process and decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction. I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consider amendments to the Act.”

This decision allows the transition to the president-elect to begin formally. It includes giving current officials within the Trump administration’s agencies to coordinate with Biden’s team. It will also open up the books for millions of dollars in government funding to help support the transition.

In total, Biden’s transition team will have access to $6.3 million in government funding to help with the transition. His team will also now have access to government data and can officially make contact with various federal agencies.

Of particular interest to the Biden transition team was access to data on COVID-19 and distribution plans for the upcoming vaccines. Biden’s team members will also be given office space within some agencies, and can use federal resources to conduct background checks on the president’s selections for Cabinet positions and other White House staffing positions.

The executive director of the Biden transition team, Yohannes Abraham, said the official beginning of the transition was a “needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

He continued:

“This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies. 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.”