U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris appear on video screens as they hold a virtual meeting with their Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advisory Board in Wilmington, Delaware, United States, on Nov. 9, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Top advisors to President-elect Joe Biden's transition team spoke on Friday of their growing concerns over the Trump administration's continued refusal to provide Biden with information on national security and the federal response to coronavirus.
During a briefing with reporters six days after independent news organizations called the presidential race for Biden, senior transition workers Jen Psaki and Yohannes Abraham lamented the fact that General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy had a customary duty to determine that Biden did indeed win had not yet met the race.
"We're not interested in having a food fight with the GSA administrator or anyone. We just want access to intelligence information, threat analysis and ongoing work on Covid so we can prepare for government." Bringing the American people together and getting the pandemic under control, "Psaki said.
Urged when asked whether the Biden campaign would consider legal action against the GSA, Psaki declined to take options "off the table" but added, "We would prefer the letter to be found is signed and we all move forward in preparing President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris for government. "
However, President Donald Trump still claims the election was "rigged" and should have won it, despite currently outpacing Biden with nearly 70 votes and losing his campaign this week in a series of legal battles to challenge the election results .
As long as Trump refuses to accept his defeat, federal agencies have been ordered not to deal with anyone from Biden's transition teams.
In the past few days, two types of briefings have emerged as hotspots in the ongoing impasse where Biden's transition can officially begin: the first is the President's daily briefing on national security threats; The other is internal planning for the government's Covid-19 response.
With "every day, the lack of access to any current secret operations or back-channel conversations that are taking place really jeopardizes the American people's interest in their national security," said Abraham.
States must confirm their election results before the electoral college meets on December 14th. It's unclear if or when Trump could give in, or what impact that would have on the GSA investigative process.
Biden plans to spend the weekend at his family's beach house in Rehobeth, Delaware.
Next week, Psaki said Biden will bring together Republicans and Democrats "who are committed to getting Americans back to work," suggesting that economic recovery and business stimulus talks may be a top priority.
Psaki declined to give details of stimulus plans that are currently being debated by transitional officials, nor would she elaborate on exactly who Biden spoke to in the Republican caucus.
Earlier this week, Biden announced a new Covid-19 Advisory Board of Health Professionals, as well as a 30-strong volunteer agency review team focused solely on the Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency that oversees the federal response to the coronavirus Pandemic monitored.
New coronavirus infections have skyrocketed this week, and on Thursday the nation marked a new milestone with over 150,000 cases reported in a single day. City and state leaders across the country are weighing calls for new restrictions on schools, indoor restaurants and private gatherings against the potential damage further shutdowns could do to a still fragile economic recovery.
Once the first coronavirus vaccine is approved for widespread use, the federal government is expected to use unprecedented efforts, virtually carried out during the war, to manufacture and distribute hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine.
Most of this distribution is expected to take place after Biden is sworn in on January 20th. It is all the more important that his incoming employees have access to the planning and preparations for the vaccination efforts.