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Biden says transition outreach from Trump administration has been 'sincere'

The Hill logo The Hill 11/24/2020 Tal Axelrod
Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: Biden says transition outreach from Trump administration has been 'sincere' © Getty Images Biden says transition outreach from Trump administration has been 'sincere'

President-elect Joe Biden said outreach from members of the Trump administration has been "sincere" since the General Services Administration (GSA) formally allowed government officials to work with the transition team Monday.

"Immediately, we've gotten outreach from the national security shop to just across the board," Biden said in an exclusive interview with NBC News's Lester Holt, the first interview he's given as president-elect. "And they're already working out my ability to get presidential daily briefs, we're already working out meeting with the COVID team in the White House and how to not only distribute but get from a vaccine being distributed to a person able to get vaccinated, so I think we're gonna not be so far behind the curve as we thought might be in the past."

"And I must say the outreach has been sincere," he added. "It has not been begrudging so far, and I don't expect it to be."

While President Trump has not yet conceded the presidential race, which Biden is projected to win with 306 Electoral College votes, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy formally "ascertained" Biden as the victor Monday, a legal hurdle that allows Biden to receive classified information and permits his aides to meet with government officials and use millions in federal funds to boost the transition.

The White House officially signed off Tuesday on allowing Biden to receive classified intelligence reports, including the President's Daily Brief, a written summary of high-level intelligence that is given to the president.

The announcement came after weeks of calls from Democrats pushing for the administration to call the race in line with media projections showing Biden won the race. A small but growing number of Republicans had also said that Biden should begin receiving classified intelligence so he would be prepared to tackle national security threats upon taking office.

"Based on all the information currently available, neither the final lawful vote counts nor the recounts have led to a different outcome in any state. In other words, the initial determination showing Joe Biden with enough electoral votes to win has not changed," Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who co-chaired Trump's campaign in Ohio, wrote in an op-ed published Monday in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Biden has already begun laying the groundwork for his administration to take power on Jan. 20, announcing this week his nominees for several national security-related posts, including secretary of State, ambassador to the United Nations, national security adviser and more.

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