2020 Election Live Updates: Biden turns to transition as Trump wages legal battle

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As Mr. Biden prepares to assume the presidency, his team is calling on the Trump administration, specifically the General Services Administration (GSA), to take the official steps to kick off the transition process. 

The GSA is a little-known federal agency that oversees office space, supplies and other services for the government. Emily Murphy, appointed to lead the GSA by Mr. Trump in 2017, must first determine that Mr. Biden is the apparent winner of the presidential election, which would unlock access to certain services and money from the federal government for his transition team. 

But the GSA said in a statement that an ascertainment has not yet been made.

“GSA and its administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law,” the agency said in a statement. The administrator has discretion to make the determination under a 1963 law that governs the transition process.

A spokesperson for the Biden transition team said it looks forward to Murphy “promptly ascertaining” Mr. Biden and Harris as the president-elect and vice president-elect, respectively, as the Democratic ticket is projected to win the states needed to secure a majority in the Electoral College.

“America’s national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signaling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power,” the spokesperson said.

The bipartisan advisory board of the Center for Presidential Transition, meanwhile, urged the administration “to immediately begin the postelection transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act,” the 1963 law.

“While there will be legal disputes requiring adjudication, the outcome is sufficiently clear that the transition process must now begin,” the advisory board, which is made up of four former government officials who served in Republican and Democratic administrations, said in a statement.

The board’s members are: Josh Bolten, former White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget; Michael Leavitt, former secretary of Health and Human Services, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and governor of Utah; Thomas McLarty, former White House chief of staff; and Penny Pritzker, former secretary of Commerce.