The Trump administration has instructed senior government officials against cooperating with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, a move that is prompting the Biden team to consider legal action, the Washington Post reported late Monday.
“We have been told: Ignore the media, wait for it to be official from the government,” a senior administration official told the Post.
According to the Post, the hold up stems from a block by the General Services Administration — a low profile agency headed up by Trump political appointee Emily Murphy. The administrator has reportedly refused to sign paperwork that releases Biden’s $6.3 million share of nearly $10 million in transition resources and gives his team access to agency officials.
The call to delay transition comes as media organizations on Saturday projected Biden as the winner in an election where President Trump — nearly three days later has continued to refuse to concede loss.
Biden transition officials told the Post during a Monday call with reporters that they had been denied access to State Department-facilitated calls with foreign leaders and access to secure facilities to review classified information.
Meanwhile, no formal briefings on agencies’ projects, budgets, or operations have taken place, the Post said.
The team is evaluating its legal options and growing increasingly alarmed that the stalemate could drag on and impede its work. The campaign has prepared for weeks for the possibility that Trump would not move forward with a peaceful transfer of power.
The Biden campaign has already started filling top White House jobs such as chief of staff and naming a task force of experts to tackle coronavirus response.
But if the GSA continues to slow transition, a legal challenge from the Biden team could target Murphy’s authority to independently judge election results when the president who appointed her has a vested stake in blocking Biden.
As Trump officials seek to placate Trump with legal battles to contest the election’s results, there’s growing fear that those efforts to avoid further bruising Trump’s ego as he is relegated to a one-term presidency, could have a lasting impact on national security.