The Trump administration threw the presidential transition into turmoil on Monday, Attorney General William Barr authorized the Attorney General to investigate allegations of voter fraud, and President Donald Trump fired the Pentagon chief and blocked government officials from cooperating with President-elect Joe Biden’s team.
Despite some evidence of fraud, Barr signed investigations into the unwarranted allegations made repeatedly by Trump. Already when Biden began gathering experts to meet the growing pandemic, the federal government that needs the green light was beginning the beginning of the transition to power. And the White House began cracking down on those who were not considered loyal enough because Trump continued to refuse to allow the race.
The top Republicans largely refused to put much pressure on Trump to accept his election loss. He remained out of sight in the White House, talks are underway about how the defeated president would spend the coming days and weeks questioning the people’s verdict.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was fired by some aides for being the first of several shootings by Trump, now freed from having to face voters again and angry at those in his administration who were perceived as insufficiently loyal. Others are believed to be vulnerable: FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and infectious experts Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Out of sight but not unknown, Trump took to Twitter to once again question the outcome of the election and made baseless allegations of widespread “unthinkable and illegal” activity in the poll.
Trump is not expected to formally resign, but will likely reluctantly leave the White House at the end of his term, according to several people around him. He discussed with the main allies the possibility of more campaign compilations as he tries to keep his supporters on fire despite his defeat. It was possible that they would present his family and main supporters but not the president himself.
The president was protected from continuing to fight by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is seen by many in the GOP as the one who may eventually have to push Trump to the exit.
“Our institutions are actually built for this,” McConnell said as he opened the Senate on Monday. “We have the system in place to consider concerns and President Trump is 100% within his right to investigate allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer countered that Republicans’ refusal to accept the election results was “extremely dangerous, extremely toxic to our democracy.”
“Joe Biden won the election,” Schumer said.
Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said it was time for the transition to go unhindered. “At this stage, I think the transition should continue, even if it is not completed,” he said. “We want to ensure that interests in national security and smooth transition are implemented.
Some other GOP senators sent lukewarm nods to a transition. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse congratulated Biden and Maine Senator Susan Collins noted the Democrat’s “obvious victory.” But many Republican lawmakers were reluctant to talk about the election and saw little political incentive to take a firm stand on Trump’s transition from the White House.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have been hesitant to pressure Trump to admit Biden, because they know it would anger their base of Trump’s most devoted supporters. Most also did not encourage the president’s unfounded allegations of fraud, while letting unfounded questions about the election process linger.
To increase the sense of insecurity, the General Services Administration continued to formally begin the transition and prevented Biden’s teams from gaining access to federal agencies. A spokesman for the agency said late Monday that a “confirmation” of the winner of the election had not yet been made. Referring to what the agency did during the extended 2000 election bill, it signaled that it may not do so until Trump agrees or the Electoral College meets next month.
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There were signs of a slowdown over the government.
In weekly Monday morning phone calls from the Midwest for the Midwest Environmental Protection Agency, mid-level administrators responded to questions about the transition by telling staff they had no information yet, said Nicole Cantello, a Chicago office worker and president of an EPA-represented union. worker.
Until Friday, at least EPA employees told the agency’s retirees that the agency’s political nominees refused to discuss any transition and said they were confident Trump would be re-elected.
A management official said that the president’s chief of staff, John McEntee, the president’s former personal assistant, had told the departments that they should terminate all political nominees who are currently seeking new jobs. Another official said the warning was not considered likely to lead to any shootings but was intended to reassure staff that they would not oppose Trump while he refused to concede. Officials and others who did not have the authority to discuss internal policies or describe private discussions requested anonymity.
At the U.S. Bureau of International Development, which was already undergoing a sudden change of leadership after the election, staff were instructed not to take action on transition planning until the GSA approved it, according to officials familiar with the matter.
But some parts of the federal government were already mobilizing to prepare for Biden to take power. The U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Aviation Administration extended a flight restriction over Bidens Wilmington, Delaware, home through inauguration day. Biden’s safety features have been reinforced with agents from the Presidential Protective Division.
And despite Trump’s public stance, there was a growing realization in his inner circle that the election result would be impossible to overthrow.
Legal challenges have already been addressed in battlefield states such as Georgia and Wisconsin. And Trump’s legal challenge took another hit on Monday when campaign adviser David Bossie, who was tasked with leading the effort, tested positive for coronavirus.
Bossie had been at the indoor white night party and was now perceived as a possible super-spreading event after other participants – including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Housing and Urban Development Minister Ben Carson and other assistants – contracted the virus.
Some senior officials have tried to argue that Trump would reverse his efforts to cement his legacy, but they are wary of being branded disloyal to even think about it.
In the White House, the presence among assistants had decreased since election night – partly because of the result and partly because a number are in quarantine after having contracted or been exposed to people who came down with COVID-19. And Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to resign on Tuesday for a Florida vacation.
During the last days of the election, Trump repeatedly described the campaign as “my job” and it steadily pushed out his official duties.
Trump’s public schedule has not included intelligence since October 1. The White House has not provided a “reading” of any conversation between the president and a foreign leader in several weeks. He has not met members of the White House Coronavirus working group in several months. He also offered no public comment on the tropical storm Eta that buzzed the Florida Keys.
The protracted resolution of the election has only contributed to the culture of suspicion that has permeated the eroded West Wing.
Aides said there were two camps in the White House: those who have already accepted the result and those who are still working through it and pushing Trump to continue fighting. Employees do not know in which camp their officials live and those who look forward to new work are afraid of being branded as disloyal.
The Trump campaign has claimed that there has been widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to turn the vote in Biden’s favor, with no hard evidence to support it. There must be evidence of illegally cast or incorrectly counted votes on a massive, organized scale to cast enough votes to overcome Biden’s significant leadership across several states. And it just has not turned up. In fact, election officials from both political parties have publicly said that the election went well.
But in every election there are problems: voting machines break down, long lines force some people away, ballot papers are thrown wrong and lost. And 2020 has been no exception.