Transition spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that while a lot of work can be accomplished without access to government agencies, the president-elect and his team would benefit from intelligence briefings and real-time information from around the globe.
Psaki emphasized that when it comes to combating the coronavirus pandemic, “access to ongoing work on distribution plans, vaccine development, that engagement directly with the agencies would significantly help our preparations to govern.” She spotlighted the importance of having “access to the real-time current information and plans.”
On national security, Psaki raised concerns that there’s currently no access to intelligence briefings and threat assessments.
“With every day that passes, it becomes more concerning that our national security team and the president-elect and the vice president-elect don’t have access to those threat assessments, intelligence briefings, real-time information about our engagements around the world, because, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know. And in order to prepare to govern, it’s important that they have access to that information,” she emphasized.
Fox News, other news networks and The Associated Press on Saturday projected Joe Biden would win the state of Nevada and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, giving the Democratic presidential nominee the electoral votes needed to defeat Trump and become president-elect. But Trump has yet to concede, as he hopes that a spate of longshot lawsuits he’s filed and a couple of recounts in key states will reverse Biden’s victory.
General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy, who was appointed by the president, has yet to sign a letter of “ascertainment,” which until now was a mostly controversial free process of declaring the presidential-elect the winner of the White House race, allowing access to the federal agencies, and to the funding of the transition.
Asked by reporters about the likelihood of legal actions to force the GSA to recognize the former vice president’s election victory, Psaki said that litigation is “certainly not our preference” and that “we’re not interested in having a food fight with the GSA administrator.” But she added that no presidential transition would take any “options off the table.”
Psaki said that the transition was ahead of schedule and that Biden hopes to have a senior team finalized and announced in the coming weeks. This week, the president-elect named Ron Klain, a longtime aide who served as then-Vice President Biden’s chief of staff, as White House chief of staff.
Tara Prindiville is a Field Producer for Fox News in New York. Follow her on Twitter: @taraprindiville