US agency ascertains Biden as winner, lets transition begin

2020 Election

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The General Services Administration has ascertained that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration. President Trump also gave the GSA and his administration the green light to participate in the transition.

Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump’s efforts to overturn the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday.

“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,” Murphy wrote in the letter to Biden.

NewsNation obtained the Letter of Ascertainment from Murphy addressed to Biden:

Trump tweeted shortly after her letter was made public: “Our case STRONGLY continues, 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.”

The move clears the way for Biden aides to begin coordinating with federal agencies on plans for takeover on Jan. 20, as formal presidential transition doesn’t begin until the administrator of the federal General Services Administration ascertains the “apparent successful candidate” in the general election.

“The GSA Administrator has ascertained President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the apparent winners of the election, providing the incoming Administration with the resources and support necessary to carry out a smooth and peaceful transfer of power. Today’s 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. This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies. 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.”

Statement by Biden-Harris Transition Executive Director Yohannes Abraham

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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