Trump administration gives OK for Biden transition to formally begin

Washington, Nov 23 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Monday that he had given the green light to the government to formally allow the transition to begin to the administration of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, the winner of the Nov. 3 election, although the president has still not acknowledged his defeat.

“I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA (General Services Administration) for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused — and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” Trump tweeted.

“Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same,” he added.

The president’s tweet came just minutes after Murphy – who is in charge of the agency that authorizes members of the incoming administration’s transition team to be allowed to contact federal officials and agencies to coordinate the transfer of power on Jan. 20, 2021 – sent a letter to Biden’s team formally initiating the transition process and denying that she had been pressured to do so.

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

Since the major US media outlets called the election for Biden two weeks ago on the basis of vote tallies and projections, Trump has refused to acknowledge his defeat and has repeatedly and insistently claimed that massive election fraud had occurred with an eye toward denying him a second term, although he provided no proof for that allegation.

His attorneys have presented more than a dozen lawsuits in several key states that Biden won alleging election fraud and other claims with an eye toward overturning the election results in those states to secure their electoral votes for Trump, but the majority of those cases have been thrown out as meritless or lacking evidence by the judges hearing them.

As it stands, Biden has accumulated 306 electoral votes, above the 270 threshold required to ensure a candidate’s victory in the presidential race.

Meanwhile, the president-elect on Monday announced several appointments to his national security team – including Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Avril Haines to serve as his National Intelligence director, making her the first women to head that agency, and Jake Sullivan to be one of the youngest national security advisors to serve in the White House in decades.

Furthermore, the president-elect announced that former Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen was his pick for treasury secretary, former Secretary of State John Kerry will serve as climate “czar” and long-time African American diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be his administration’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Earlier on Monday, the Michigan election board certified Biden’s victory in that state, despite pressure from Trump to delay the process.

After reviewing the report by Michigan election authorities, which showed that Biden won the state by some 154,000 votes, the board – made up of two Democrats and two Republicans – corroborated the former vice president’s win by a vote of 3-0 with one abstention.

On Friday, Trump had met with Republican lawmakers from Michigan to pressure them not to certify Biden’s win there, but the official acknowledgement of the results comes after a week of electoral drama in which a number of Republican officials worked in various ways to block or call into question the results of the vote.

But the Michigan head of the state House of Representatives, Lee Chatfield, and the conservative majority leader in the state Senate, Mike Shirkey, said after meeting with Trump that they had seen no evidence that would alter the result of the election in their state, thus strongly suggesting that the state would, in fact, certify Biden’s win there on Monday.

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