Biden’s Transition Gets Green Light as Trump At Last Relents

By ZEKE MILLER, DAVID EGGERT and COLLEEN LONG

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a meeting at The Queen theater Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election on Monday, formally starting the transition of power after President Donald Trump spent weeks testing the boundaries of American democracy. He relented after suffering yet more legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election with baseless claims of fraud.

Trump still refused to concede and vowed to continue to fight in court after General Services Administrator Emily Murphy gave the green light for Biden to coordinate with federal agencies ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. But Trump did tweet that he was directing his team to cooperate on the transition.

Monday’s fast-moving series of events seemed to let much of the air out of Trump’s frantic efforts to undermine the will of the people in what has amounted to a weekslong stress test for American democracy. But Trump’s attempts to foment a crisis of confidence in the political system and the fairness of U.S. elections haven’t ended and are likely to persist well beyond his lame-duck presidency.

Murphy, explaining her decision, cited “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”

She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.

It also comes as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. The president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.

“With Michigan’s certifying (its) results, Joe Biden has over 270 electoral college votes,” tweeted Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy. “President Trump’s legal team has not presented evidence of the massive fraud which would have had to be present to overturn the election. I voted for President Trump but Joe Biden won.”

Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

He added: “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”

Murphy, a Trump appointee, has faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration. The delay denied Biden access to receive highly classified national security briefings and hindered his team’s ability to begin drawing up its own plans to respond to the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Murphy insisted she acted on her own.

“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,” she wrote in a letter to Biden.

Trump tweeted moments after Murphy’s decision: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! 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.”

Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticized the delay but said Biden’s team would be able to overcome it.

“Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges,” he said. “The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the GSA action “is probably the closest thing to a concession that President Trump could issue.″ Noting that the nation “faces multiple crises that demand an orderly transition,″ Schumer urged Democrats and Republicans to “unite together for a smooth and peaceful transition that will benefit America.″

Murphy’s action came just 90 minutes after Michigan election officials certified Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one GOP abstention. Trump and his allies had hoped to block the vote to allow time for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.

Under Michigan law, Biden claims all 16 electoral votes. Biden won by 2.8 percentage points — a larger margin than in other states where Trump is contesting the results like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That long-shot bid is no longer possible in Michigan.

“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement, saying it’s “time to put this election behind us.”

The Trump legal team dismissed the certification as “simply a procedural step” and insisted it would continue to mount legal challenges.

Trump’s efforts to stave off the inevitable — formal recognition of his defeat — have faced increasingly stiff resistance from the courts and fellow Republicans with just three weeks to go until the Electoral College meets to certify Biden’s victory. Time and again, Trump’s baseless allegations of widespread conspiracy and fraud have been met with rejection as states move forward with confirming their results.

Trump was increasingly frustrated by his legal team, led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose erratic public performances drew bipartisan mockery in recent weeks. Still, the legal challenges were expected to continue, as Trump seeks to keep his supporters on his side and keep his options open for opportuntities post-presidency.

In Pennsylvania on Saturday, a conservative Republican judge shot down the Trump campaign’s biggest legal effort in the state with a scathing ruling that questioned why he was supposed to disenfranchise 7 million voters with no evidence to back their claims and an inept legal argument at best.

But the lawyers still hope to block the state’s certification, quickly appealing to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which ordered lawyers to file a brief Monday but did not agree to hear oral arguments.

The campaign, in its filings, asked for urgent consideration so it could challenge the state election results before they are certified next month. If not, they will seek to decertify them, the filings said.

Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.

Pennsylvania county election boards were voting on Monday, the state deadline, about whether to certify election results to the Department of State. The boards in two populous counties split along party lines, with majority Democrats in both places voting to certify. After all counties have sent certified results to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, she must then tabulate, compute and canvass votes for all races. The law requires her to perform that task quickly but does not set a specific deadline.

In Wisconsin, a recount in the state’s two largest liberal counties moved into its fourth day at a slow pace, with election officials in Milwaukee County complaining that Trump observers were hanging up the process with frequent challenges. Trump’s hope of reversing Biden’s victory there depends on disqualifying thousands of absentee ballots —- including the in-person absentee ballot cast by one of Trump’s own campaign attorneys in Dane County.

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Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Jonathan Lemire in New York, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich., contributed to this report.

1 COMMENT

  1. Lame duck presidency? What?
    Even CNN & other Trump hating MSM praised Trump over
    • In 2018, President Trump signed the groundbreaking First Step Act, a criminal justice bill that enacted reforms that make our justice system fairer and help former inmates successfully return to society. The First Step Act’s reforms addressed inequities in sentencing laws that disproportionately harmed Black Americans and reformed mandatory minimums that created unfair outcomes. The First Step Act expanded judicial discretion in the sentencing of nonviolent crimes. Over 90% of those benefiting from the retroactive sentencing reductions in the First Step Act are Black Americans. The First Step Act provides rehabilitative programs to inmates, helping them successfully rejoin society and not return to crime.
    The original 1994, that Biden supported and Biden was even spouting & praising as recently as his “You ain’t black” comment to Charlamaine Tha God on his BREAKFAST CLUB podcast. Bill Clinton’s crime Biden voted for bill made crack cocaine over powder cocaine crimes more strict, harsh & with longer jail sentences which especially affected black families & their community more so than white families. Even Obama/Biden couldn’t get a criminal justice reform bill passed.
    • Violent crime has fallen every year he’s been in office after rising during the 2 years before he was elected
    • The Trump Administration is promoting second-chance hiring to give former inmates the opportunity to live crime-free lives and find meaningful employment
    • Trump’s DOJ and the Board Of Prisons launched a new “Ready to Work Initiative” to help connect employers directly with former prisoners
    • Trump increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by more than 14%
    • Trump signed legislation forgiving Hurricane Katrina debt that threatened HBCUs.
    • Under Trump’s leadership, in 2018 the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil.
    • The poverty rate fell to a 17-year low of 11.8% under the Trump administration as a result of a jobs-rich environment
    • Poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels since the U.S. began collecting such data. (Pre China 2nd “accidental” release of a China created Coronavirus
    • Trump’s U.S.D.A. committed $124 Million to rebuild rural water infrastructure
    • New single-family home sales were up 31.6% in October 2019 compared to just one year previous.
    • More than 400,000 manufacturing jobs created since his election.
    • Trump appointed 5 openly gay ambassadors & Trump ordered Ric Grenell, his openly gay ambassador to Germany, to lead a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe which Ric Grenell became the first openly gay person to ever hold a Cabinet position to any president
    • Trump signed a bill to require airports to provide spaces for breastfeeding Moms.
    • The 25% lowest-paid Americans enjoyed a 4.5% income boost in November 2019, which outpaces a 2.9% gain in earnings for the country’s highest-paid workers
    • Trump signed the Save our Seas Act which funds $10 million per year to clean tons of plastic & garbage from the ocean.
    • He signed a bill this year allowing some drug imports from Canada so that prescription prices would go down.
    • Trump signed an executive order this year that forces all health care providers to disclose the cost of their services so that Americans can comparison shop and know how much fewer providers charge insurance companies. Hospitals will now be required to post their standard charges for services, which include the discounted price a hospital is willing to accept.
    • In the eight years prior to President Trump’s inauguration, prescription drug prices increased by an average of 3.6% per year. Under Trump, drug prices have seen year-over-year declines in nine of the last ten months, with a 1.1% drop as of the most recent month.
    • He created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans
    • VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far. (Thank God. Finally!!! It needed it. Having both my mother a retired nurse & in mgmt as well as I a former employee of the VA we have horror stories of Dr’s, nurses, aids, mgmt personnel that needed to be gone but due to bureaucracy and federal government protections & unions it was next to impossible
    • Trump administration will provide H.I.V. prevention drugs for free to 200,000 uninsured patients per year for 11 years
    • Through Trump’s Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) initiative, Federal law enforcement more than doubled convictions of human traffickers and increased the number of defendants charged by 75% in ACTeam districts.Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations arrested 1,588 criminals associated with Human Trafficking.
    • In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismantled an organization that was the internet’s leading source of prostitution-related advertisements resulting in sex trafficking. Trump’s OMB published new anti-trafficking guidance for government procurement officials to more effectively combat human trafficking.
    • The tax cuts signed into law by President Trump promote school choice by allowing families to use 529 college savings plans for elementary and secondary education (Which Biden has stated in his promises to un do all of Trump’s tax cuts AND promised he would RAISE YOUR TAXES! Higher taxes = less money in your pocket
    • Signed the first Perkins C.T.E. reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
    • Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.
    • Signed an executive order that allows the government to withhold money from college campuses deemed to be anti-Semitic and who fail to combat anti-Semitism.
    • Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting the U.S. government from discriminating against Christians or punishing expressions of faith. / Protections for religious freedoms
    • Trump imposed sanctions on the socialists in Venezuela who have killed their citizens. (
    (Just like ALL communist nations have dictators — Venezuela is a Communist nation with a dictator doing the exact same thing as Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, Belarus, parts of Africa, North Korea etc.)
    • Made a deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe
    • Finalized new trade agreement with South Korea
    • Withdrew the U.S. from the job-killing TPP deal
    • Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam
    • O.K.’d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation
    • Has had over a dozen U.S. hostages freed, including those Obama could not get freed
    • Trump signing the first major anti-robocall law in decades called the TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.) Once it’s the law, the TRACED Act will extend the period of time the FCC has to catch & punish those who intentionally break telemarketing restrictions. The bill also requires voice service providers to develop a framework to verify calls are legitimate before they reach your phone.
    • Stock Market has reached record highs.
    • African-American unemployment is at an all-time low. As well as Hispanic-American & Asian-American
    • Women’s unemployment rate is at a 65-year low.
    • Record number of regulations eliminated that hurt small businesses. (Biden wants them put back in place

    I could keep naming Trump’s accomplishments but after (I highly doubt you will), read those does it sound like Trump is a lame duck president? Lame duck is Pelosi and the Democrats in the House

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