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Senin, 23 November 2020

US agency tells Biden he can start presidential transition - Sydney Morning Herald

Washington: Donald Trump's efforts to deny the results of the US presidential election have been dealt a major blow, after the key federal government agency in presidential transitions approved the beginning of the formal start of a Biden administration.

Trump responded by saying he had instructed his team to participate in the transition process - a major softening in the President's rhetoric, even as he insisted he would continue to fight for a second term.

Trump's statement of support for the handover process is the closest he has come to publicly acknowledging the reality of his election defeat.

General Services Administration Administrator has approved the official start of the presidential transition process.

General Services Administration Administrator has approved the official start of the presidential transition process. Credit:AP

The head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, wrote to Biden on Tuesday (AEDT) to announce that she had determined him to be the apparent winner of the election.

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Her decision will give the Biden team access to millions of dollars in funding to help them prepare to form government and allow Biden's advisers to co-ordinate with federal officials.

Democrats had been growing increasingly frustrated with Murphy's refusal to declare Biden the apparent election winner and begin the official handover process.

Earlier in the day, the Michigan Board of Canvassers voted to certify Biden as the winner of the state's 16 Electoral College votes - essentially shutting off any possibility that Trump could overturn the results of the election.

US President-elect Joe Biden.

US President-elect Joe Biden.Credit:AP

In a series of tweets after Murphy's letter was released, Trump suggested he approved of her decision and said he had instructed his team to participate in the handover process. Until now Trump has continued to insist he won the election despite Biden's clear lead in the Electoral College.

"Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good...fight, and I believe we will prevail! " he wrote.

"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."

In her letter to Biden, Murphy said she had not been pressured by anyone in the Trump administration to delay the transition process.

"Contrary to media reports and insinuations, my decision was not made out of fear or favouritism," she wrote.

"I strongly believe that the statue requires the GSA Administrator ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-elect."

She stressed that she was not empowered to officially determine the election winner, and that her role was limited to the question of making resources available during a transition.

Biden's top transition adviser Yohannes Abraham said: "Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.

"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 complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies."

Earlier in the day, Biden announced his nominees for several key cabinet positions including secretary-of-state, national security adviser and director of national intelligence.

Biden signalled that climate change would be a major focus for his administration by naming John Kerry, the former secretary-of-state and presidential nominee, as his special presidential envoy for climate.

Antony Blinken is Joe Biden's pick for his secretary of state.

Antony Blinken is Joe Biden's pick for his secretary of state.Credit:AP

Many of Biden's nominees served in senior roles in the Obama administration, a trend likely to continue with subsequent cabinet choices. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (AEDT) that Biden will choose Janet Yellen - whom Barack Obama appointed to lead the US Federal Reserve - to be his treasury secretary.

As expected, Biden chose Antony Blinken to be his secretary-of-state, a role equivalent to foreign affairs minister, and Jake Sullivan to be his national security adviser.

Other nominees include Alejandro Mayorkas, the first Latino and immigrant ever nominated to serve as secretary of homeland security.

Biden has chosen veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is black, to be his ambassador to the United Nations and Avril Haines to be his director of national intelligence. Haines would be the first woman to serve in this role.

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2020-11-23 23:55:00Z
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