Biden’s transition team denied access to classified information, state department, others
After last week’s presidential election, Joe Biden’s transition team is considering legal action over a federal agency’s delay in recognising the Democrat’s victory over President Donald Trump, a Biden official has said.
The General Services Administration (GSA) generally recognises a presidential candidate when it becomes clear who has won an election so that a transition of power can begin.
This is however yet to happened despite U.S. television and news networks declaring Biden the winner on Saturday after he secured enough electoral votes to secure the presidency.
The delay is costing the Biden team access to millions of dollars in federal funding and the ability to meet with officials at intelligence agencies and other departments.
The transition team needs to be recognised to access funds for salaries, consultants, and travel, as well as access to classified information, the official said.
In addition, the team has no access to the State Department, which usually facilitates calls between foreign leaders and the president-elect, the official said.
The law does not clearly spell out when the GSA must act, but Biden transition officials say their victory is clear and a delay is not justified, even as Trump refuses to concede defeat.
Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that there was widespread voter fraud and has filed a raft of lawsuits to challenge the results.
Election officials across the country say there has been no evidence of significant fraud, and legal experts say Trump’s efforts are unlikely to succeed.
GSA Administrator, Emily Murphy, appointed by Trump in 2017, has not yet determined that “a winner is clear,” a spokeswoman said.
A source close to Murphy said she was a thorough professional who would take her time making a careful decision.
A Biden transition official told reporters on a call that it was time for the GSA’s administration to grant what is known as an ascertainment recognising the president-elect, and said the transition team would consider legal action if it was not granted.
“Legal action is certainly a possibility, but there are other options as well that we’re considering,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declining to outline other options.
In a new development, Republican officials at the state and federal level have lined up behind Trump’s allegation of election irregularities.
Pennsylvania Republican state lawmakers plan to call for an audit of the results in the state that gave Biden enough electoral votes to win, the day after U.S. Attorney General William Barr told federal prosecutors to look into “substantial” allegations of irregularities.
Top Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has also lined up behind Trump, saying that he was “100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities,” without citing any evidence.
Meanwhile, the United States and Nigeria have organised a virtual meeting with members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to affirm the Coalition’s commitment to countering the threat of ISIS and its branches worldwide, including in West Africa, and to supporting ongoing international efforts in the region.
The meeting focused on outlining the ISIS threat in West Africa and emphasised ways the Coalition can strengthen its collective approach in specific areas, such as battlefield evidence and border security.
The United States, and the 82-member global coalition it leads, remain fully committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS and its branches, which is critical to U.S. national security and that of our partners and allies.