KEY POINTS

  • Murphy has authorized Trump officials to coordinate with Biden's transition team
  • She dismissed claims that she was pressured to begin the transition
  • Trump approved Murphy's decision "in the best interest of the country"

General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy on Monday allowed President-elect Joe Biden’s team access to federal funds and resources needed to begin a transition. 

Murphy officially designated Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, enabling the incoming president's advisers to coordinate with officials from the Trump administration, The New York Times reported.

Trump said on Twitter Monday night that he was authorizing his staff to begin “initial protocols” for the transition.

The decision was revealed minutes before the president tweeted his approval of the transition. 

“I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” Trump tweeted. 

“Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same,” he continued.

 

In her letter to Biden, Murphy dismissed claims that she was pressured by an official to begin the transition. She said her decision is based on “recent developments,” likely refering to the certification of votes in several states. 

“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,” she wrote. 

The letter is considered a formal sign off on Biden's win, and begins the transition process known as ascertainment, CNN reported.

Murphy’s authorization will allow current administration officials to coordinate with Biden’s transition team and access millions in government funding. The president-elect's team will also have access to office space inside various agencies and federal resources to conduct background checks on Cabinet picks and White House staff appointments. 

Yohannes Abraham, executive director of Biden’s transition team, said the authorization would allow the incoming administration to plan how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and revive the U.S. economy.

"In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests and gain a complete understanding of the Trump administration's efforts to hollow out government agencies," Abraham said in a statement.

Murphy’s letter arrives after a number of setbacks in the Trump campaign’s effort to block the certification of the final votes and overturn the results of the election. 

In Michigan, the electoral board approved its presidential vote tally on Monday despite pressure from Trump to delay the process. The certification grants Biden the state’s 16 electoral votes.