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Biden transition team threatens legal action if GSA doesn’t deem him ‘president-elect’

by Naomi Lim | Washington Examiner  |  Published on November 10, 2020

President Trump’s campaign isn’t the only team mulling legal challenges over last week’s election as a crucial federal agency blocks presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s transition aides from facilitating a formal transfer of power.

A Biden transition official suggested the two-term vice president may use the judicial system to try to pressure the General Services Administration to recognize several news outlets calling the Nov. 3 election in his favor.

“There are a number of options on the table. Legal action is certainly a possibility, but there are other options as well that we’re considering,” the Biden aide told reporters Monday night.

The GSA oversees the transition process. The little-known agency is responsible for acknowledging, or “ascertaining,” the winner of each cycle as it essentially holds the keys to the federal government. But GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, has repeatedly said that she won’t sign the necessary paperwork until a victor is “clear.”

Practically, Murphy’s decision means Biden’s team can’t access $6.3 million in federal funding or secure office space and equipment for the transition before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. It also means the team can’t access key government personnel, including national security and intelligence officials or certain pieces of classified information. It can’t start background checks for potential Cabinet nominees or coordinate conversations under the State Department’s guidance with overseas counterparts either.

Media projections indicate that Biden secured the requisite 270 electoral votes to become the 46th president last Saturday. Trump, however, has declined to concede as his lawyers contest the results of several critical battleground states in court.

Biden aides began preparing for the transition over the summer, a move required by federal law.

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