According to The Washington Post, the White House instructed senior government leaders on Monday to hinder cooperation with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, which the newspaper noted threatens a smooth transfer of power.
Biden’s team reportedly is looking at possible legal action to address the issue.
Per The Post:
Officials at agencies across the government who had prepared briefing books and carved out office space for the incoming Biden team to use as soon as this week were told instead that the transition would not be recognized until the Democrat’s election was confirmed by the General Services Administration, the low-profile agency that officially starts the transition.
Despite media projections over the weekend that Biden won the election, President Donald Trump refuses to concede.
Emily Murphy, the Trump political appointee heading the GSA, has so far refused to sign paperwork granting Biden access to his portion of the $9.9 million set aside in transition resources. She reportedly has consulted the former head of the GSA under President Bill Clinton, who handled the transition in 2000 when George W. Bush contested the election results.
“We have been told: Ignore the media, wait for it to be official from the government,” said a senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.
The Post reported that Biden’s transition team is using informal channels to glean information, as they have prepared for weeks for the possibility that Trump would not facilitate a peaceful transfer of power.
Still, with acutely high stakes for Biden during one of the most volatile periods in American history — with a weak economy and a government preparing for the daunting task of distributing a coronavirus vaccine — a shadow transition is beginning to take shape. Democrats have been out of power for just four years, and the Biden team is starting to reach out to its many contacts in and out of government, according to transition and former government officials.
A Biden official told The Post there are “a number of legal options” they could turn to but declined to be more specific about those options.
Image credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead / Public Domain