WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump’s administration has instructed senior agency officials to not cooperate with the self-proclaimed “President-elect” Joe Biden’s transition team amid the Trump campaign’s legal challenges to election outcomes in multiple battleground states.
According to senior administration officials who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly, agencies have instructed staff who had been preparing briefing books and office space for the Biden team to not give this access until the election result is confirmed by the General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees the management and basic functioning of federal agencies.
“We have been told: Ignore the media, wait for it to be official from the government,” one senior administration official told The Post.
Biden was projected by major mainstream media outlets as the winner of the presidential election on Saturday, but Trump has indicated he will not concede, due to widespread voter fraud. The Post reported that several agencies, including the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, have told staff to ignore outreach from Biden’s transition team.
The daily added that the agencies are currently not holding formal briefings with the Biden team on the agencies’ projects, budgets, trouble spots or day-to-day operations. John Barsa, acting deputy USAID administrator, told staffers that Biden had not won the election and agencies should therefore not automatically carry out transition actions, according to two people familiar with his conversations.
The newspaper reported that a 440-page briefing book for the next president’s team is already prepared and waiting at USAID.
“The only official announcement about an election result that matters is from the head of GSA,” Barsa noted, according to a recording of a call published by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website.
It comes as other top administration officials and Republican lawmakers have called for the investigation of the voter fraud. Attorney General William Barr on Monday authorized the Department of Justice to investigate any substantial allegations of voter fraud in the presidential election.