(CNN) — Reality is settling among President-elect Joe Biden’s allies that the transition prior to his inauguration on Jan.20 may be more difficult than many within Biden’s world had assumed, two officials said Monday. , with a legal fight now a possibility.
Biden told his allies over the weekend that he wanted to give Republicans, and President Donald Trump, some time to accept the election results.
But Trump-appointed General Services Administration (GSA) administrator Emily W. Murphy, whose job it is to declare a president-elect, a move that triggers the transition process, has yet to do so. that statement. And the GSA issued a statement Monday incorrectly comparing Biden’s victory to the 2000 election of George W. Bush against Al Gore, in which the outcome at this stage was in doubt.
The statement sparked concern in the Biden camp that he faces a fight to get federal agencies to accept the legitimacy of the 2020 election result.
Biden’s allies will begin to intensify their rhetoric on the matter, defending the legitimacy of the election in television interviews and more, officials said.
In a call with reporters Monday night, Biden’s transition officials did not rule out legal action against the GSA in an attempt to force the transition process to begin and said they have a “number of options.”
“We believe it is clear that President-elect Biden and [la vicepresidenta electa] Kamala Harris should be entitled to all functions of the GSA and all functions throughout the Government and we ask the GSA administrator to do a proper verification, ”said an official.
The problems in the Biden team transition process
Biden officials complained that they were missing the $ 6.3 million that Congress allocated to support the transition process. They also said that transition officials cannot access federal agencies or their employees, and do not have secure access to obtain and discuss classified information.
Democrats on Capitol Hill are also furious at the delay. In a letter to Murphy, three House Democrats, Representatives Gerry Connolly, of Virginia; Dina Titus of Nevada and Bill Pascrell of New Jersey requested a briefing and told Murphy that she was “undermining the urgent need for a rapid and effective transition of power in the midst of a global pandemic that must focus on the safety and well-being of our citizens.
To begin the transition process, Murphy must sign a letter to deliver funds to Biden’s transition team through a process called verification. This would mark the Trump administration’s first formal acknowledgment that Biden did indeed win the election, but it would also unlock access to national security tools to streamline background checks and additional funds to pay for training and incoming staff.
However, more than 48 hours after Biden’s victory was projected by numerous news organizations, Murphy has yet to be fired. A GSA spokesman declined to provide a specific timeline for when the verification would take place, a clear sign that the agency will not get ahead of the president, who has yet to admit he lost.
“A verification has not yet been done,” GSA spokeswoman Pamela Pennington told CNN in a statement Monday afternoon.
“There are no updates at this time and the position of GSA remains the same. Verification has not been done yet. The GSA and its administrator will continue to meet all the requirements established by law and to comply with the previous precedent set by Clinton in 2000, “added Pennington in an incorrect comparison with the 2000 elections.
“It has always been a quick decision”
Pennington said in a statement Sunday that the General Services Administration does not choose who wins the election, but “determines the seemingly successful candidate once the winner is clear based on the process set forth in the Constitution.”
The spokeswoman declined to respond to CNN’s request for details on the threshold for an “apparently successful candidate.”
A transition expert familiar with the GSA told CNN that “it has always been a quick decision” to determine a successful candidate.
In Trump’s 2016 election, the source said, it was made by the Obama administration the day after. In 2008, it was done on election night, around 1 a.m. The only time it was delayed, the source said, was in the year 2000, when Florida went to a mandatory recount and verification was done the day after the Supreme Court case was resolved.
However, former President George W. Bush said in a statement Sunday that the November 3 election “was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be maintained, and its outcome is clear.” And several Republican officials have issued statements calling Biden “president-elect.”
Biden’s transition officials rejected the 2000 comparison in his call with reporters Monday night.
This is not the same as the year 2000 at all. Then a state that had a margin of more than 500 votes was involved, that had several different containment lines of ballots that would alter the outcome of that election and, therefore, the entire Electoral College vote, ”said an official from Biden.
“This is a very different situation,” added the official, noting that all the major media outlets have projected that Biden is the winner of the race.
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