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Biden transition team to mull legal action over agency's transition delays: reports

Biden transition team to mull legal action over agency's transition delays: reports
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE’s transition team is mulling legal action over the General Services Administration’s (GSA) delay in recognizing his projected win, which is delaying transition work, Reuters and Axios reported on Monday.

A Biden transition official told reporters on a call Monday that the GSA needed to grant an ascertainment to recognize the former vice president as the president-elect, adding that the team would consider legal action if the agency did not do so.

The GSA's delay prevents Biden's team from accessing millions of federal dollars that would pay for salaries, consultants and travel as well as the ability to meet with current government officials, including those in intelligence. 

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“Legal action is certainly a possibility, but there are other options as well that we’re considering,” the official said, according to Reuters.

"There's a number of levers on the table and all options are certainly available," the official told reporters, according to Axios, calling the situation "certainly rather fluid."

The Biden campaign and the GSA did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

The GSA typically recognizes a presidential candidate when it's clear who won the election to begin the transition of power.

But a GSA spokesperson told The Hill earlier Monday that Administrator Emily Murphy, who was appointed by Trump, is waiting to see that “a winner is clear.”

"An ascertainment has not yet been made. GSA and its Administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law," the spokesperson said in a statement.

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The potential legal action comes after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential race on Saturday by several media outlets.

No law says exactly when the GSA needs to begin ascertainment, according to Reuters, but the Biden transition team is arguing that the current delay is not valid. 

But President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE has refused to concede, alleging that widespread voter fraud, in part, contributed to Biden’s victory. 

His campaign has filed several lawsuits in different battleground states contesting the ballot count, after Trump spread unfounded claims for months about mail-in ballots opening up the election to fraud. 

Some recounts will be triggered in swing states by the narrow margins, but experts said it is unlikely to change the race's outcome.

The transition of power also allows the incoming presidential team to have access to the State Department, which typically sets up calls between foreign leaders and the incoming president.

After Biden is recognized, his team can start requesting security clearances and background checks for potential Cabinet nominees.