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U.S. agency to allow Biden transition to begin after delay: reports

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WATCH: US election: Trump administration to begin transition of power process to president-elect Biden – Nov 23, 2020

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has informed president-elect Joe Biden that the current  administration is ready to begin the formal transition of power process, according to media reports.

Read more: Michigan certifies Biden’s state victory despite Trump efforts to subvert election results

In a letter obtained by CNN on Monday, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said she 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.”

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An official told The Associated Press that Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday.

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In a tweet Monday evening, U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Murphy for her “steadfast dedication and loyalty” to the country.

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“She has been harassed, threatened, and abused — and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA,” he wrote.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump said he is “recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols,”  and said he will have his team “do the same.”

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In a tweet hours later,  Trump said his team will continue to pursue their “various cases,” despite the GSA allowing transition work to begin.

“We are moving full speed ahead,” he wrote.

Murphy’s move means current administration agency officials will now coordinate with members of Biden’s team, and millions in government funding will be made available to aid in the transition.

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In a statement, Biden-Harris transition team spokesperson Yohannes Abraham said those resources are “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,” Abraham said.

The move comes almost three weeks after election day, and two weeks after The Associated Press and other major news outlets projected Biden and running mate Kamala Harris had won enough electoral votes to secure the White House.

A total of 16 states have so far certified their results, awarding president-elect Biden 54 of his 306 Electoral College votes and Trump 73 of his 232 votes.

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Florida is the only one of the four most populous states to certify. Deadlines are early next month for the others: California, Texas and New York.

In the days since the election, Trump’s legal team has filed a number of lawsuits, claiming without evidence that there was mass voter fraud as a result of the use of mail-in ballots amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Other suits allege Republicans were not granted access to oversee ballot counting.

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However, election officials across the country maintain that there was no voter fraud or irregularities, and that both Democrat and GOP representatives were present as votes were counted.

Earlier this month, the federal agency that oversees election security and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency released a joint statement which said the election “was the most secure in American history.”

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In a tweet Monday evening, Commissioner of the Election Assistance Commission Ben Hovland, said the election was “fair.”

“I can honestly tell you the 2020 presidential election was fair,” he wrote.

In a post on Twitter, Chris Krebs, former CISA director who was fired from his post by Trump last week, said “the transition starts now.”

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“As a reminder, still no evidence that election systems and votes were manipulated,” he wrote. “All Americans should have confidence in the security of their vote.”

The overwhelming majority of lawsuits filed by the Trump team have since been shot down.

Despite the delay, Biden and Harris have wasted no time in building their transition team.

Earlier on Monday, Biden announced a number of officials who will fill top national security and economic roles in his administration.

Biden’s picks included Obama-era secretary of state and former senator John Kerry who will serve as the country’s climate envoy.

He is also expected to choose Janet Yellen, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama to lead the Federal Reserve, as the first woman to become treasury secretary.

Biden and Harris are scheduled to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

-With a file from The Associated Press