Trump is stonewalling Biden's transition. Here's why it matters


Amy Walter from the takeaway were well underway and the ability for Theo administration in any way by failure recognizes this our wind. Does not change the dynamic at all. What radio peaceful transfer of power is a cornerstone of American democracy. Right now. President Trump is not only refusing to concede this election. He's also denying the incoming Biden administration access to keep documents funding an information they need to ensure a safe and smooth transition. Now the formal transition process is actually a pretty new thing. Congress passed the Presidential transition act just over 50 years ago. Him. Things proceeded from there with relatively little drama or problems until 2000 President George Florida's certification of George Bush is the winner. It's not up for me to accept or reject. There's a legal process here, you know, let's just watch this happen. It'll be over soon and we'll be ready for the transition. It wasn't until weeks after that. Bill Clinton Cabinet meeting December 12 35 days after the election that George W. Bush was officially declared the winner. That gave then President elect Bush just over a month to plan for and staff his administration. Course. Nine months later, the September 11th terrorist attacks happened catching the nation and relatively new president off guard. When the 9 11 Commission report came out in 2004, it pointed to this truncated transition. Is a weakness and recommended a more formalized process. Catherine Don Tempus is it senior fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center. She's also the senior research director at the White House Transition Project. So laws were passed in the 2000. There's been sort of three sets of laws that have been passed to kind of they keep refining it and keep refining it. But what they did primarily is that they enabled the winning candidates to receive funding to start their transitions after they were formally nominated. So that meant that once Biden was the Democratic nominee, he was he was provided with office space. Some funding for salaries. And the ability to start planning ahead. Talk to us a little bit about how worried you are or how worried we should be as Americans about this, As you pointed out, the attacks on 9 11 happened. No, not that long after President Bush took office. If something happens January or February of this coming year, would the Biden Administration be potentially unable to respond because they just simply didn't have the staffing and they didn't have the time to ramp up and be ready. We'll let me back up just a bit to point out that there are basically two important phases of the transition. The first I pointed out was after the the nominee. Has been formally nominated by the party and they receive some resource is the next big transfer resource is comes after the head of the G s A has ascertained the next President, United States and they use that Burbage ascertain that bird. I'm not really sure why, but And that's the point at which The president, the incoming president can start to have access to classified material. They can start to be part of the president's daily brief with which is the tells them all of the national security issues. It enables the Biden transition team to have access to all of these individuals, civil servants and political appointees at the various agencies so that they can interview them. So what's happening now is they are preventing the Biden from moving to the next phase, and what I would argue is the most important phase of the transition. It's critically important that the Biden staff members be able to go to the Department of Justice, for instance, and to be able to interview the FBI director, the head of the Criminal Division, the head of the National Security Division. Try to get a sense of sense of what's the lay of the land where the priorities what the crises that might be boiling over by the time we get here, and that's what they're being denied. So I think there should be a lot of concern about this. The inability to advance to this next stage of the transition. It's not to say that it's going to necessarily result in some sort of crisis. I don't know that, but We want a country that's prepared so it strikes me as we're basically just sort of harming ourselves for no apparent reason, and we're inhibiting our ability. To be in the best possible situation. We can be on January 20th, and there's no reason for that. We have the resources. We have the capacity. So why? So let's talk about the why. And the who? So Emily Murphy is a name that most of us Probably weren't familiar with until now. She is a person who is at the head of the G s A. Can you talk a little bit about How her role what her role is and how much leeway she has to continue to refuse to release these funds or to allow The Biden team to start integrating with the outgoing Trump administration. So Emily Murphy is the administrator of the G S. A. It's a political appointment in the GSC itself is largely responsible for all the government real estate, so they help provide office space and oversee office space. Um, you know, and in most situations you would never even hear of the G s a in this particular case because all the transition funding the legislation housed it in the G s a She has the capacity to release the funding in the resource is to the party nominees and then eventually to the president elect by law. She is the one that has to ascertain the election, so there will be no funding going out until she does it. So what's tying our hands? I mean, she is appointed by President Trump. She must be a Republican who has some Loyalty to this administration and is unwilling to buck the advice. She's getting probably from Mark Meadows, probably the chief of staff who is weighing on her. So what happens? The electors meet in mid December, and they certify the results of this election. Is that the time in which you could argue that There just is no formal or legal option for the president to continue to It's sort of obstructed this process. Right? I think the meeting of the electoral college and the electors casting their ballots. And if if the numbers show that you know Biden exceeds 2 70 as he as they appear to now it strikes me that there is she has no justification. To deny the Biden campaign or president elect by and hit the resource is, however. This is a norm, shattering president and we've never had a president who has not conceded. He's lost the election. So normally, I would say yes. You know, that is clearly a decisive moment in American history when the electors cast their vote, And if Biden exceeds 2 70. He is the president. At the same time. I honestly don't know what to expect in this administration. It's very hard to predict many of his political appointees have been loyal to the core. You use the word norm shit or term norm shattering, and I'm wondering how close we are to instead of norm, shattering. Actual democracy damaging, I mean, really, fundamentally undermining the integrity. Of our government and the things on which it is built. I would contend that President Trump along with many senators, who are Denying the facts of the election results and are upholding sort of Trump's Baseless claims of fraud and stealing the election that they are undermining the very tenants of American democracy. In order to have a healthy democracy, the citizenry has to believe in the institutions. They have to believe that the elections that they voted are free and fair. And by actively perpetuating this notion that there has been fraud and some sort of stealing of votes. You are undermining the important tenets of American democracy. And that has long term implications and we are already at important and I would say high level of turmoil in this country. Pandemic has wrecked havoc on the account economy. Various incidents across the country have heightened racial tensions in this country. This is not a moment where we then need to undermine yet another important aspect of American democracy. How

Coming up next