Trump agency tasked with transition process has yet to recognize Biden’s victory

This week, all eyes are on the Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator, Emily W. Murphy, to recognize Joe Biden because the winner of the election and president-elect. Murphy is not a family identify, however she’s the particular person tasked with formally affirming Biden has gained the election on behalf of the Trump administration — one thing Trump hasn’t finished himself.

She wants to signal a letter to launch funds to the Biden transition workforce by means of a process referred to as ascertainment. This would mark the primary formal acknowledgment from the Trump administration that Biden has the truth is gained the election, however it might additionally unlock entry to nationwide safety instruments to streamline background checks and extra funds to pay for coaching and incoming workers.

Yet greater than 48 hours after the race was referred to as by quite a few information organizations, Murphy has not yet signed off. A GSA spokesperson declined to present a selected timeline for when ascertainment would happen, a transparent sign the agency will not get forward of the President, who has yet to admit he misplaced.

“An ascertainment has not yet been made,” GSA spokesperson Pamela Pennington advised CNN in an announcement Monday afternoon.

The assertion additionally inaccurately in contrast the present state of affairs, through which the entire main information networks who scrutinize vote totals have projected Biden the winner, to Bush v. Gore within the 2000 election the place the end result was unsure.

“There are no updates at this time and GSA’s position remains the same. An ascertainment has not yet been made. GSA and its administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law and adhere to prior precedent established by the Clinton Administration in 2000,” Pennington mentioned.

Pennington mentioned in Sunday assertion that the General Services Administration would not decide who wins the election, however as a substitute “ascertains the apparent successful candidate once a winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution.”

She declined to reply to CNN’s request for particulars on the brink for an “apparent successful candidate.”

The delay has set off alarm bells for Biden allies, who’re starting to notice the transition could also be harder than many contained in the President-elect’s world assumed, two officers advised CNN.

Biden had advised his allies over the weekend that he needed to give Republicans — and Trump — a bit of time to settle for the outcomes of the election, in accordance to the officers. They say there’s an rising sense they are going to have to combat extra to protect the legitimacy of the election consequence and Biden allies might begin escalating their rhetoric on this and searching for extra individuals to begin making the case on TV and past, the officers mentioned.

At the identical time, Trump is starting to come to grips with the fact that he’ll lose the election, a Trump adviser mentioned, primarily based on conversations contained in the marketing campaign and with the President, who now sees a “path to losing.” Still, Trump has already begun to focus on with aides the prospect of working in 2024.

Prior administrations from each events have usually issued the letter inside hours of the networks projecting a winner within the presidential race.

A transition knowledgeable acquainted with the GSA advised CNN that it has “always been a quick decision.”

In the 2016 Trump election, the supply mentioned, it was made by the Obama administration the day after. In 2008, it was made the evening of the election, round 1 a.m. The solely time it was ever delayed, the supply mentioned, was in 2000, the place Florida went to a compulsory recount and ascertainment was made the day after the Supreme Court circumstances was determined.

Yet President George W. Bush said in a statement Sunday that the November three election “was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.” And a number of Republican officers have issued statements calling Biden the “President-elect.”

David Barram, who served because the GSA administrator in the course of the Clinton administration, and who ascertained Bush because the winner of the 2000 election, mentioned Monday that this 12 months’s election is “dramatically different.”

“First off, all these media outlets who call the election have called it for Joe Biden, I think the winner is pretty clear,” Barram mentioned on the Transition Lab podcast.

“But I sympathize with GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, but, you know, I have confidence in Emily to do the right thing. I’m expecting the best for Emily. The GSA administrators have to stand together. So, I hope it works well for her and I hope it works well for the country.”

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Back in early September, the Trump administration agreed to three paperwork, memoranda of understanding, with the Biden transition workforce, as laid out by the Presidential Transition Act. They had been signed by the General Services Administration, the Department of Justice, and White House chief of workers Mark Meadows. At the time, $9.62 million was allotted to the Biden transition workforce for pre-election companies, which the workforce continues to obtain.

Once Murphy makes the choice on a profitable election winner, that will set off the discharge of a further $9.9 million in funds for post-election companies, which incorporates $6.three million for the incoming administration, $1 million for appointee orientation and coaching, and $2.6 million for outgoing companies.

Among the gadgets outlined in these MOUs, a transition official advised CNN, had been an settlement for the Trump administration to present the Biden transition with workplace house, communications companies, cost or reimbursement for sure actions, workers payroll, journey for the President-elect, expedited safety clearance processes for nationwide safety nominees, and safe, compartmented nationwide safety briefings.

The Office of Director of National Intelligence confirmed in an announcement Monday night that Biden and his senior advisers aren’t yet receiving the Presidential Daily Brief, because it’s identified.

“ODNI follows the statutory direction provided in the Presidential Transition Act, which requires ascertainment of the candidate by the administrator of GSA prior to supporting a potential presidential transition,” the workplace mentioned.

“ODNI would not have contact with any transition team until notified by the GSA Administrator.”

Murphy was nominated by Trump in 2017 and unanimously confirmed.

Former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki, who’s working with the Biden transition on nominations, referred to as on the GSA to “quickly” confirm Biden on Sunday.

“Now that the election has been independently called for Joe Biden, we look forward to the GSA Administrator quickly ascertaining Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect,” Psaki tweeted Sunday afternoon.

Psaki added, “America’s national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signaling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.”

Additionally, the Center for Presidential Transition’s advisory board, a nonpartisan group, issued an announcement Sunday night, additionally calling on the Trump administration to “immediately” confirm.

“Now the real challenge begins. We urge the Trump administration to immediately begin the post-election transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act,” the board mentioned in an announcement, which was signed by Bush administration chief of workers Josh Bolten, Bush administration Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, Clinton chief of workers Mack McLarty and Obama Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

In the meantime, there are casual methods to proceed the transition process, mentioned Clay Johnson III, who ran George W. Bush’s transition in 2000 at a time when the election’s consequence was delayed by greater than a month over the disputed ends in Florida.

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“(Dick) Cheney said, ‘We can’t wait to see who wins this thing, we have to assume we win it. Full speed ahead,’ ” Johnson recalled, including that the Bush transition workforce was not sure if they might get authorities help and sources and when it would come. Instead, they raised personal cash and rented their very own workplace house.

“Money to support a privately funded transition is easy to raise. (The Biden team) can raise millions of dollars in half a day,” Johnson mentioned.

Bush’s workforce was not legally allowed to formally provide any positions or conduct background checks, in order that they as a substitute held casual interviews and casual background checks, asking candidates to reveal any attainable purple flags of their data.

Trump has made no public indication that he plans to concede or recognize the legitimacy of Biden’s victory, and CNN has reported that his marketing campaign is planning a messaging blitz to gas its argument — unsupported by any proof to date — that the President’s second time period is being stolen from him by means of corrupt vote counts in battleground states.

The transition knowledgeable noticed that Murphy is in a troublesome place.

“Emily Murphy is a person of high integrity and goodwill. She’s an expert. I’m sure she’s wondering, ‘How the hell did I get here in this position?’ ” the knowledgeable mentioned. “It’s her decision under law, it’s only her decision.”

“The GSA is an administrative agency in charge of procurement and she’s a serious person and a person of high integrity,” the supply added.

This story has been up to date with further developments Monday.

CNN’s Kristen Holmes, Alex Marquardt, Zachary Cohen, Jeff Zeleny and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

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