Trump, in the nearly dozen tweets and retweets fired off Tuesday morning, appeared to be backpedaling from Monday evening’s decision by the General Services Administration to allow the transition process to begin, giving President-elect
Trump tweeted his blessing of the move, which many interpreted as a concession to Biden’s win – or as close as a concession as the president would get.
But the president was singing a different tune on Tuesday, vowing to keep up the fight so he could remain in the
‘I concede NOTHING!!!!!,’ the president declared in one retweet that featured a photo of himself standing in the Oval Office next to the resolute desk.
President Donald Trump demanded the election be rerun in an early morning tweet storm that featured voter fraud allegations from actor Randy Quaid in a starring role
He also touted a ‘big lawsuit’ that would reveal a great deal of voter fraud, although he offered on specifics or evidence of his claim.
‘Our big lawsuit, which spells out in great detail all of the ballot fraud and more, will soon be filled. RIGGED ELECTION!,’ Trump wrote in a tweet flagged by Twitter as disputed.
It’s unclear what legal case the president is referring to but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has granted his campaign’s request for an expedited review of a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit over voting in Pennsylvania. A judge in the state threw out the Trump campaign’s attempt to seek a legal injunction to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s win there and the president’s legal team is appealing.
As part of his arguments he was the winner in November, Trump also retweeted five tweets from actor Randy Quaid, the disgraced actor who once sought asylum in Canada as he fled legal challenges in California.
Quaid sent out his own series of tweets alleging election fraud – also flagged by Twitter for having disputed information – and full of praise for President Trump.
‘Never underestimate The greatest President this country has ever had. Trump is an astonishing man of the people, fighting for all of us,’ Quaid wrote.
Trump replied: ‘Thank you Randy, working hard to clean up the stench of the 2020 Election Hoax!’
Trump also retweeted Quaid’s call for an ‘in-person-only-paper ballot re-vote.’
Quaid wrote: ‘We’ve lost confidence in the system that elects our leaders. 79 million Americans believe election was rigged, the results fraudulent. We need an in-person-only-paper ballot re-vote, especially in the States where flagrant irregularities have occurred. No accuracy, no democracy!’
‘Are you listening Republicans?’ the president demanded with his retweet.
It’s highly unlikely Republicans would agree to another election – a move that would be unprecedented in American history. A hand recount in Georgia certified Biden’s win there and several states have begun the certification process that will formally give Biden the 306 electoral votes he won.
The president also displayed his continuing anger with Fox News, which was the first news organization to call Arizona for Biden – a decision that enraged Trump.
The president retweeted Quaid’s praise for two small conservative television networks: ‘TIME TO MAKE OAN & NEWSMAX RICH. FOX IS DEAD TO ME!’
Trump’s doubling down comes after GSA Chief Emily Murphy sent Biden a letter on Monday night, writing that the transition process could formally begin.
Murphy released a letter to Biden announcing the move, but dedicated a considerable portion to defending her own reputation and claiming she had been threatened and harassed.
Her letter, notably, does not go so far as ‘ascertain’ that Joe Biden is the winner of the election, despite networks calling the race 16 days ago, numerous states certifying their tallies, and Biden winning 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. She also called him ‘Mr.’ instead of president-elect or vice president.
It came just over an hour after Michigan certified that Biden had won the state, putting another nail in the coffin of Trump’s bid to overturn the election result.
The move ends much of the controversy over Trump’s refusal to concede and means that a concession would be purely symbolic.
It allows Biden to get the same intelligence briefing as Trump, order FBI background checks on his picks for office and talk to senior officials in key roles – most notably, Dr. Tony Fauci.
The Biden-Harris transition team last night welcomed Murphy’s letter, saying it was a ‘needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation’.
‘In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response’ as well as national security issues, said Biden aide Yohannes Abraham.
But Trump tweeted later on Monday saying he had ordered Murphy to start the transition ‘for the sake of the country’ and claimed he was sure he would win ‘the good fight.’
Joe Biden has started building his government, including announcing senior staff position and major Cabinet roles
‘Threatened.’ Trump appointee Emily Murphy used her letter to Joe Biden to complain that she had been ‘harassed’ while refusing to start the transition and claim she acted on her own initiative in refusing to declare him the apparent winner
HOW BIDEN’S STAFF CAN FINALLY GET WORKING
The decision of GSA Administrator Emily Murphy to allow the transition to move forward allows Biden and his team to get access to money, space and personnel.
Biden will now have at his disposal $6.3 million in administrative costs, and another $1 million has been appropriated for appointee orientation sessions and a transition directory.
But the cash is not the point: the access is.
Biden will now have access to the President’s Daily Brief, meaning he will be receiving the same national security briefings as Trump.
Additionally, the Biden-Harris team will be able to receive briefing books from other career civil servants.
The Biden-Harris transition has already announced landing teams at major agencies.
Those teams can now interact with their government counterparts at the agencies.
Crucially in this crisis, Biden will be able to communicate with Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the coronavirus taskforce.
Biden and his team will also have access to government office space.
So far, he’s been running the transition out of the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, which has also been partly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During the transition, more than 4,000 political appointments need to be made, including 1,200 that will need Senate confirmation.
With transition resources green-lit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will now be able to process background checks on the individuals Biden has picked.
Murphy wrote to Biden defending herself and said: ‘I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you,’ she told him, after noting her ability to make resources available.
‘I have dedicated much of my adult life to public service, and have always strived to do what is right,’ she wrote, on a letter dated 16 days after TV networks called the race for Biden.
Murphy, a Trump appointee, claimed she did not receive any pressure to hold up the ascertainment – a word she never used.
‘I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official – including those who work at the White House or GSA – with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,’ she added.
‘To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination. I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely. Even in the face of thousands of threats, I always remained committed to upholding the law, she wrote.
She said her decision was not made out of ‘fear or favoritism.’
Murphy had resisted sending the letter of ascertainment as Trump refused to concede the presidential election.
But Trump has seen his case for victory fade day by day. He has yet to win a major court case.
And, despite making numerous allegations of voter fraud – including funding from Communists to turn votes in Biden’s favor and alleging voting machines from Dominion Systems changed Trump votes to Biden ones – the president’s team has not shown any evidence.
Numerous state election officials said there was no evidence of voter fraud.
ABC News reported that the Secret Service was already asking agents if they wanted to transfer to Florida to guard the Trumps full-time there from January.
As Trump remains huddled in the White House – he is rarely seen in public and his public schedule for Monday had no events on it – Biden has gone on with building his government.
On Monday he announced a slate of national security officials and more Cabinet announcements are expected.
In another small but notable sign of the looming handover, the Biden transition website changed from a .com to a more secure .gov domain on Monday.
BIDEN TRANSITION WEBSITE GETS A .GOV DOMAIN
The Biden-Harris transition website changed its URL from a .com to a .gov domain on Monday in another sign that the handover is officially underway.
Biden shared the new link – BuildBackBetter.gov – on Twitter on Monday after the switch was made.
The GSA, the agency which finally allowed the Biden transition to formally begin on Monday, manages the .gov domain and makes it available to government agencies.
‘Using a .gov domain shows you’re an official government organization,’ it says.
Biden shared the new URL on Twitter
Security measures that come with .gov domains include a ban on using passwords that have ever been leaked in data breaches, which are collated by the website Have I Been Pwned?
The GSA also beefed up security in 2017 to stop ‘hostile networks’ from deploying malware or tracking beacons when people visit official websites.
The president’s official @POTUS Twitter account will be handed over to the Biden administration on inauguration day in January, the company said on Saturday.
Trump will still have his own account, but Twitter says he will be subject to the same rules as anyone else – meaning tweets that break the rules could be deleted rather than red-flagged with a warning as they currently are.
Trump praised Murphy’s action in a tweet on Monday night and claimed she was the victim.
‘I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues,’ he tweeted shortly after she sent the letter.
‘We will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same,’ he added.
Trump’s near-concession didn’t stop one of his current campaign lawyers, Jenna Ellis, from claiming on MSNBC that ‘the election was stolen’ and that ‘President Trump won by a landslide.’
That came despite another day of legal setbacks – which included Michigan’s supreme court denying an attempt to block certification; and the Trump campaign filing a brief in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals after a blistering lower court ruling that blasted ‘Frankenstein’ reasoning.
The brief claimed the Trump campaign was not seeking to disenfranchise 6.8 million Pennsylvania voters, just 1.5 million.
‘The campaign is not seeking to disenfranchise 6.8 million Pennsylvanian voters. Instead, it only seeks to set aside the defective ballots among the 1.5 million cast in the defendant counties.
‘The campaign seeks to examine a sample of the mail ballots to determine the defective percentage of ballots among the 1.5 million, which should then be deducted from Biden’s vote total,’ they wrote in their filing under expedited appeal.
Murphy had faced heavy pressure from Biden and congressional Democrats because without her blessing the president-elect could not communicate with federal agencies or access federal funds allocated for the transition process.
House Democrats were threatening to haul Murphy to Capitol Hill to explain the delay. They sent her a letter late last week demanding an in-person briefing from her on Monday. She tried to delay that until next week.
But they sent her another letter on Monday evening demanding one on Tuesday.