Biden camp snags Trump’s ‘no-concede’ thumbs-up for transition at last

Biden camp snags Trump’s ‘no-concede’ thumbs-up for transition at last

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.

The incumbent then relented after suffering back to back legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election riding the coat ends of a line-up of 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 weeks-long stress test for American democracy. But Trump’s attempts to entrench 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 154,000-vote victory in the battleground state, and a conservative Republican judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday. The scathing ruling questioned why the States were being pushed to disenfranchise 7 million voters with no evidence to back fraud claims and an inept legal argument at best. Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.

In recent days, senior Trump aides including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone had also encouraged him to allow the transition to begin, telling the president he didn’t need to concede but could no longer justify withholding support to the Biden transition.

Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said 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.”

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 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.

“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.

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, adding it’s “time to put this election behind us.”

Trump has grown 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 are expected to continue, as Trump seeks to keep his supporters on his side and his options open for opportunities post-presidency.

In Wisconsin, a recount in the state’s two largest liberal counties moved into its fourth day, with election officials in Milwaukee County complaining that Trump observers were slowing down 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.

[Sourced from Agencies]

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