Biden begins transition plans as Trump refuses to concede

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 8:12 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020
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8:27 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

4 years ago today, Vice President Biden met with Vice President-elect Pence

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Four years ago today, then Vice President Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Mike Pence met in Biden’s West Wing office in the White House.

“I just met with @VP-elect Pence at the @WhiteHouse to offer support for a smooth, seamless transition of power,” Biden wrote.

 

That same day, President Obama welcomed President-elect Trump to the White House, where they had a 90-minute Oval Office meeting – a meeting that is not being reciprocated after this year’s election.

CNN’s White House team has reported there are no plans for the President to invite the President-elect to the White House in the coming days.

Biden and Pence remained in touch in the early months of Pence’s tenure, with Biden offering him some advice on foreign policy issues on a few occasions. Their last substantive conversation on these types of matters occurred in the summer of 2017, aides have previously told CNN.

8:27 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

You may hear the word ascertainment quite a bit this week. Here's what it means.

From CNN's Betsy Klein

As President Trump continues to baselessly claim election fraud and refuses to concede the presidential election, the Trump administration also has yet to sign off on a key document needed to formally begin the transition process.

This week, all eyes are on the Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator, Emily W. Murphy, to recognize Joe Biden as the president-elect and release funds to the Biden transition team through a process called ascertainment.

This would mark the first formal acknowledgment from the Trump administration that Biden has in fact won the election, and would unlock access to national security tools to streamline background checks and additional funds to pay for training and incoming staff.

Murphy has not yet signed off. A GSA spokesperson declined to provide a specific timeline for when ascertainment would take place, a clear signal the agency won't get ahead of the President.

"An ascertainment has not yet been made," GSA spokesperson Pamela Pennington told CNN.

Back in early September, the Trump administration agreed to three memoranda of understanding with the Biden transition team, as laid out by the Presidential Transition Act. They were signed by the General Services Administration, the Department of Justice, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

At the time, $9.62 million was allocated to the Biden transition team for pre-election services, which the team continues to receive.

Ascertainment would trigger the release of an additional $9.9 million in funds for post-election services, which includes $6.3 million for the incoming administration, $1 million for appointee orientation and training, and $2.6 million for outgoing services.

Read more here

8:26 a.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Why Biden's transition may be more difficult than those around him hoped

From CNN's Eric Bradner, Jeff Zeleny, Betsy Klein, Jasmine Wright and Sarah Mucha

Reality is setting in among President-elect Joe Biden's allies that the transition leading up to his Jan. 20 inauguration may be more difficult than many inside Biden-world had assumed, two officials said Monday, with a legal fight now a possibility.

Biden told his allies over the weekend that he wanted to give Republicans — and President Trump — a little time to accept the results of the election.

But the Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator, Emily W. Murphy, whose job is to declare that there is a president-elect — a move that triggers the transition process — has not yet made that declaration. And the GSA issued a statement Monday inaccurately comparing Biden's win to the George W. Bush vs. Al Gore election of 2000, in which the outcome at this stage was in doubt.

The statement triggered worry in Biden's camp that it is facing a fight to get federal agencies to accept the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2020 election.

Biden allies will start escalating their rhetoric on the matter, making the case for the election's legitimacy in television interviews and more, the officials said.

In a call with reporters Monday night, Biden transition officials would not rule out legal action against the GSA to try to force the beginning of the transition process, and said they have a "number of options."

Keep reading here.