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More Than 2 Weeks After Election, Biden Transition Officially Moves Forward

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In a nondescript room in Michigan, as thousands watched on video, President Trump's strategy to somehow win an election that he lost suffered another blow. A four-member board certified Michigan's vote for Joe Biden, making it clear that the step was required by law. The move followed an embarrassing flameout for Trump's legal team in Pennsylvania, the latest lawsuit that they have lost. And by the end of the day, a key member of Trump's administration came close to acknowledging the obvious. Emily Murphy still did not refer to Joe Biden as president-elect. But in a letter, the head of the General Services Administration released federal funding to be used in the event of a transition of power.

Let's begin our coverage with NPR's Ayesha Rascoe, who covers the White House. Good morning.

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: Normally by now, we would have a meeting between the incoming and outgoing presidents and a lot of other steps. None of that has happened, but I guess the president did tweet.

RASCOE: He did tweet, and this may be as close as we'll get to a concession. Basically, he said that he had recommended that the General Services Administration do what needs to be done to start the process of transition. He says he's still fighting. But he did say that the process could begin, which is - he didn't need his signoff for that, but that's what he said.

INSKEEP: Well, how much pressure had been building on the president in recent days?

RASCOE: You know, as you mentioned earlier, a lot of the legal avenues that they were trying have pretty much been drying up. Most of the cases are being thrown out. Michigan certified its results. And you had more and more Republican senators coming out and saying that it was time to at least begin transition for the good of the country.

INSKEEP: Lamar Alexander being one of those, senator from Tennessee, for example. So what resources are now available to the incoming Biden team now that Emily Murphy has made this designation?

RASCOE: So it means that Biden's team should now have access to government office space. They'll be able to formally meet with Trump administration officials to discuss policy issues. And they'll receive some $7.3 million to pay staffers and other expenses. There have been a lot of concerns from the Biden team about not being able to get national security briefings, about not being able to learn about vaccine distribution planning. And so now they'll be able to get that and to start getting that information from these federal agencies. And the Biden transition said that this is a definitive administrative action and that they said that they would begin meeting with federal officials and that they would try to understand what they call the Trump administration's efforts to hollow out government agencies.

INSKEEP: OK. Ayesha, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

RASCOE: Thank you.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Ayesha Rascoe. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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