“I hope you know that I arrived at my decision independently, based on the law and the facts available,” Murphy wrote. “I have not been pressured directly or indirectly by any executive branch – including those who work for the White House or the General Intelligence Agency – regarding the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I have not received any direction to postpone my resolve.”
The letter indicates Murphy’s official signature of Biden’s victory, a routine process usually known as verification. The move would officially allow the transition to begin, allowing incumbent administration agency officials to coordinate with the incoming Biden team, and providing millions in government funding for the transition.
The Biden team will now have access to additional office space within the agencies and the ability to use federal resources to check background in Biden’s White House appointments and cabinet selection.
The Biden transition executive director, Johannes Abraham, said the start of the transition was “a necessary step to begin addressing the challenges facing our nation, including controlling the epidemic and getting our economy back on the right track.”
“This final decision is a final administrative procedure to officially begin the transition process with federal agencies,” Abraham said. “In the coming days, transitional officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the response to the pandemic, take full account of our national security interests and gain a full understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to empty government agencies.”
It is the latest sign that Trump’s conspiracy-ridden legal attempt, led by Rudy Giuliani, to circumvent the election result is nearing an end. Trump’s campaign lawsuits to delay election certification have been dismissed in multiple states as his legal team failed to provide any evidence of widespread voter fraud.
But so far, Murphy has refused to go ahead with the verification process, despite Biden’s apparent victory. Trump’s politically appointed Murphy has faced intense scrutiny and political pressure from Democrats, and in recent days, Republicans have called for a smooth transition to begin. In a statement released on Monday, Republican Senator Rob Portman said, “There is no evidence yet of any fraud or widespread irregularities that would alter the outcome in any state” and called for the transition to begin.
In the letter, Murphy suggested that verification rules are vague and should be updated.
“The GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recount, nor does it specify whether these actions are reasonable or justified,” she wrote. “These are the issues that the Constitution, federal and state laws leave for the process of election ratification and decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction. I don’t think that the agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above constitutional law – on the basis of the election process. Strongly on considering amendments to the law. “
Trump tweeted moments after reporting the letter, thanked Murphy for her work and confirmed the decision to start the move.
“I would like to thank Emily Murphy at the Public Security Agency for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our country. She has been harassed, threatened, and mistreated – and I don’t want to see this happen to her, her family, or the GSA staff. Our case is going strong, we will keep fighting well, and I think we will win!” Trump. “However, for the sake of our country, I recommend that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to the initial protocols, and I have asked my team to do the same.”
Two of Trump’s advisers have said that the president’s tweets are being read by people in his orbit as essentially a concession.
The second advisor said, “a hidden attempt to justify the continued solicitation of donations.”
The Public Services Administration notified federal administrations Monday night that it has confirmed Biden’s victory in the presidential election, according to an email obtained by CNN.
“According to the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended, today November 23, 2020, the GSA Director confirmed that Joseph R Biden and Senator Kamala Harris are the apparently successful candidates for the positions of President and Vice President, respectively,” Mary Geibert, Federal Transition Coordinator, wrote in a mail An email to the Federal Ministry’s contacts.
A senior White House official said that some employees were initially surprised by the GIA’s message, learning about it first from CNN. But the official said the staff would begin cooperating with Biden’s transition team, adding that they would seek more information on next steps.
For two weeks after Biden called the election, Murphy remained silent with continued delays, prompting public pressure from Democrats in Congress and Biden himself, who warned that the delay could cost lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Democrats were calling for a briefing on Murphy on Tuesday to clarify her decision, and they rejected GSA’s proposal earlier Monday for its deputy to brief Congress next week. The chairpersons of the Democratic committees sent a slew of new letters to Murphy on Tuesday demanding that she allow the transition to begin and warn of consequences for not doing so.
This story was updated with additional reports on Monday.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Mary Geibert.
Jeff Zellini, Jeremy Diamond, Jim Acosta, and Arlit Signs of CNN contributed to this report.