World

Trump administration clears way for Biden's transition to White House

US President, while not formally conceding defeat, said his staff would cooperate with Mr Biden's

WASHINGTON/WILMINGTON: After weeks of waiting, President Donald Trump's administration on Monday cleared the way for President-elect Joe Biden to transition to the White House, giving him access to briefings and funding.

Mr Trump, a Republican, has alleged widespread voter fraud in the Nov 3 election without providing evidence.

Although he did not concede or acknowledge his Democratic rival's victory on Monday, Mr Trump's announcement that his staff would cooperate with Mr Biden's represented a significant shift and was the closest he has come to admitting defeat.

Mr Biden won 306 state-by-state electoral votes, well over the 270 needed for victory, to Mr Trump's 232. Mr Biden also holds a lead of more than six million in the national popular vote.

The Trump campaign's legal efforts to overturn the election have almost entirely failed in key battleground states, and a growing number of Republican leaders, business executives and national security experts have urged the president to let the transition begin.

On Monday, the General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency that must sign off on presidential transitions, told Mr Biden he could formally begin the handover process.

GSA administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter that Mr Biden would get access to resources that had been denied to him because of the legal challenges seeking to overturn his win.

That means Mr Biden's team will now have federal funds and an official office to conduct his transition until he takes office on Jan 20. It also paves the way for Mr Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris to receive regular national security briefings that Mr Trump also gets.

Mr Trump and his advisers said he would continue to pursue legal avenues.

"Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good... fight, and I believe we will prevail! 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," Mr Trump said on Twitter.

Ms Murphy, who was appointed to the GSA job by Mr Trump in 2017 and said she faced threats for not starting the transition earlier, told GSA employees in a letter that the decision to do so was hers alone. - REUTERS

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