Trump directs team to co-operate on Biden transition – but insists fight continues

Trump recommends federal agency ‘do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols’

US President Donald Trump in a golf cart at Trump National Golf Club on Sunday in Sterling, Virginia. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/Getty

US President Donald Trump in a golf cart at Trump National Golf Club on Sunday in Sterling, Virginia. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/Getty

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A federal US agency has ascertained that Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the November 3rd election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from Donald Trump’s administration.

President Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said on Monday on Twitter he was directing his team to co-operate on the transition but vowed to keep up his fight to remain as US president.

The federal agency that must sign off on the presidential transition, the General Services Administration (GSA), told President-elect Joe Biden on Monday the handover process can formally begin.

“I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you,” GSA chief Emily Murphy wrote in a letter to Mr Biden.

‘Initial protocols’

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that he was recommending that Ms Murphy and her team “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same”.

Politicians and business executives have put pressure on the little-known federal agency to recognise the November 3rd election results and free up millions of dollars in federal funds, office space and briefings for Mr Biden’s team.

The GSA had said Ms Murphy, who was appointed to her job by Mr Trump in 2017, would “ascertain” or formally approve, the transition when the winner was clear. “Contrary to media reports and insinuations, my decision was not made out of fear or favoritism,” Ms Murphy wrote.

Mr Trump has repeatedly falsely claimed he won the race and has spent weeks offering baseless claims of widespread voter fraud that have repeatedly failed to gain traction in the courts.

The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 provides no firm deadline for the GSA to act, but the agency has historically acted once media organisations call a winner, which happened on November 7th.

Mr Biden is due to take office on January 20th after having won the election with enough state-by-state electoral votes to secure the Electoral College win. The Democrat leads in the national popular vote by more than 6 million ballots. Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans have slowly broken from the president in recent days to urge the transition process to start. – Reuters