Donald Trump Blocks The Transition Process With Joe Biden’s Team

Washington, DC – The administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump plunged the presidential transition into chaos on Monday. The president blocked the collaboration of members of the government with the team of president-elect, Joe Biden, while the secretary of Justice, William Barr, authorized the Department of Justice to investigate allegations without basis of electoral fraud.

Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported Trump’s efforts to challenge the election results. Few in the Republican Party acknowledged Biden’s victory or condemned another more troubling move by Trump on Monday: the removal of Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The news cast doubt on whether the country is going to witness a quiet handover of power like those that have consolidated its democracy for years. The Electoral College was scheduled to officially confirm Biden’s victory on December 14, and the Democrat will take office at the end of January.

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Barr on Monday authorized US prosecutors to investigate “substantial” allegations of wrongdoing and electoral fraud, although there is no widespread evidence of such problems in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both parties have publicly stated that the vote it went well, and international observers also confirmed that there were no serious irregularities.

Biden’s campaign attorney, Bob Bauer, said Barr’s internal statement authorizing the probes “will only fuel the ‘misleading, speculative, imaginative or remote claims’ it claims to fight.

Biden went ahead with his preparations to form a government, assembling a team of experts to tackle the growing pandemic. But the federal agency that must give the green light at the beginning of the transition was slow to do so. And the White House maneuvered to oust those deemed not loyal enough, while Trump continued to refuse to admit defeat.

The president stayed away from the cameras in the White House as he continued the conversation about how he would spend the next few days and weeks while challenging the popular will. Trump was not expected to officially admit defeat, although he was likely to reluctantly leave the White House at the end of his term, according to several people close to him.

There was also speculation about holding more rallies in an attempt to keep Trump supporters motivated despite the defeat. They might include the participation of his family and important allies, but not that of the president.

Some Trump aides believed that the removal of Esper, the Pentagon chief, would be the first of several, as the president no longer has to answer to voters again and is upset with members of the government whom he considers insufficiently loyal. . Others who could be singled out are FBI Director Christopher Wray; the director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, an expert in infectious diseases.

The president got the go-ahead from McConnell to keep fighting. Many Republicans see the Republican leader in the Senate as the man who will have to signal Trump’s exit at some point.

“Actually, our institutions are designed for this,” McConnell said as the Senate opened Monday. “We have the system to consider concerns, and President Trump is fully entitled to investigate allegations of wrongdoing and study his legal options.”

The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, replied that the resistance of the Republicans to accept the election results was “extremely dangerous, extremely poisonous to our democracy.”

“Joe Biden won the election fairly,” added Schumer.

A few Republican senators made tepid gestures admitting a change of government. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse congratulated Biden, and Senator Susan Collins of Maine mentioned the Democratic “apparent victory.” But many Republican congressmen were reluctant to talk about the election, seeing little political incentive to take a firm stance on Trump’s removal from the White House.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have been reluctant to pressure the president to admit defeat, knowing it would upset his devoted Trump fan base. The majority also did not openly fan the president’s baseless claims about a fraud, although they did not clear up the questions without evidence about the electoral process.

To add to the sense of uncertainty, the General Services Administration (GSA) delayed the official start of the handover, preventing Biden’s teams from accessing federal agencies. A spokesman for the agency said Monday night that there was still no “finding” on the winner of the election.

Pointing to the agency’s actions during the expanded recount in the 2000 elections, the spokesperson noted that it may not begin the transition process until Trump admits defeat or the Electoral College meets next month.

That tally in Florida implied a margin of just 537 votes in a state that could have determined which candidate got 270 electoral votes to run for president. Biden’s leads in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which gave him the votes to get to the White House, are far greater – and broader than – Trump’s leads in those same states in 2016.

In a call Monday night with reporters, a transition official said that Biden’s team believes it is time for the GSA administrator to certify that Biden is president-elect. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated that “there is certainly a possibility” of legal action if that does not happen, although other options are also being considered.

Meanwhile, the government seemed to be reducing its activity at all levels.

White House employees and Trump-appointed political officials advised career administration officials that they should not begin the transition process until approved by the GSA, according to people familiar with the situation.

A member of the government said that the presidential director of personnel, John McEntee, a former personal adviser to the president, had conveyed to departments that they should cancel any political appointments for now. Another official said the warning was not interpreted as a preliminary to layoffs, but to emphasize that no decisions would be made against Trump as long as the president did not accept defeat. These officials and others who were not authorized to comment on internal policies or describe private conversations requested anonymity.

But some elements of the federal government had already mobilized to prepare the relief. The United States Secret Service and the Federal Aviation Administration extended a flight restriction around Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden lives, until inauguration day. Its security team has also been reinforced with agents from the President’s Protection Division.

And despite Trump’s public stance, the idea that the electoral result would be impossible to change was gaining strength in his inner circle. Some senior members of the administration have tried to argue that Trump should focus his efforts on consolidating his legacy, but fear that they will be singled out as disloyal.

Legal actions in disputed states like Georgia and Wisconsin have already been dismissed. And Trump’s efforts took another blow Monday when campaign adviser David Bossie, tasked with leading the legal offensive, tested positive for coronavirus.

Bossie was at the election party at the White House, held indoors, which is now being considered as a possible massive contagion event after the positives of the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows; the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, and other advisers.

At the White House, the number of collaborators present has been falling since election night, due in part to the result, and in part to the fact that several are in quarantine after being infected or exposed to people with COVID-19. Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to leave for a Florida vacation Tuesday after visiting the Capitol.

Trump’s public agenda has not included a briefing with intelligence personnel since Oct. 1. The White House has not provided a summary of the president’s calls with foreign leaders in weeks. He has not met with members of the coronavirus task force in months. Nor has he made public statements about Tropical Storm Eta, which is hitting the Florida Keys.

The lengthy election resolution has only compounded the culture of suspicion that has flooded the now empty West Wing of the White House.

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