On Monday afternoon, The General Services Administration (GSA) announced that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process into a new Joe Biden administration.
The letter is the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect.
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy sent a letter to the press announcing the breakthrough and saying the agency was not pressured by the Trump administration. She was previously accused of having a conflict of interest and intentionally stalling on the announcement because she is a Trump appointee.
“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. 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,” Murphy wrote.
Pretty bizarre for Murphy to a) not call the president-elect the president-elect and b) reference the threats she's received, as if it's material here pic.twitter.com/MpcqupcF6Q
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 23, 2020
The letter indicated that Murphy and the GSA have formally signed off on Biden’s victory. In most cases, this would only be a small formality, but for this race, it is the first stop in bringing closure to a contested election.
This formality will also allow the transition process to begin, such as permitting current administration agency officials to coordinate with the incoming Biden team.
The move comes after a series of legal losses for the Trump team in key battleground states.
In the letter, Murphy suggested that the ascertainment rules were too vague.
“GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified,” she wrote. “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,” Murphy wrote.
Trump tweeted moments after the letter was reported, thanking Murphy for her work and affirming the decision to start the transition, but also still promised that his team will keep up the fight.
Don’t miss the news report below about the transition.
Biden has already begun naming appointees to his administration, and many of them are familiar faces who worked in the Obama and Clinton administrations.
Biden plans to name his longtime adviser Antony Blinken as secretary of state.
From 2009 to 2013, Blinken served as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. From 2002 to 2008, he served as the Democratic Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
During the Clinton Administration, Blinken served in the State Department and in senior positions on the National Security Council staff. Blinken is also a global affairs analyst for CNN
Jake Sullivan who was one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, and implicated in her email scandal, is likely to be named Biden’s national security adviser. Linda Thomas-Greenfield is expected to be nominated to serve as Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations.