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Republicans increasingly urge Trump to begin formal transition

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As President Trump continues to refuse to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden, Republican governors and officials called on the Trump administration to begin the transition process.

“It’s clear that, certainly, based on what we know now, that Joe Biden is the president-elect and that transition, for the country’s sake, it’s important for a normal transition to start through,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “The president can go on his other track and his legal track. We should respect that, but we also need to begin that process.”

However, DeWine also said the president’s legal challenges to the election should be allowed to play out.

“I’d say this to both sides of this, and I was certainly a supporter of and remain a supporter of the president, but the president has every right to go into court, every right to bring any kind of evidence that he has, and no one should begrudge him that or say that there’s anything irregular about that,” DeWine said.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) made similar comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, saying, “I expect Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States.”

Hutchinson echoed DeWine in saying the Biden team should have access to public health and national security materials.

“It is very important that Joe Biden have access to the intelligence briefings to make sure that he is prepared,” Hutchinson told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “During times of transition, our enemies have an opportunity to take advantage of us, and we want to make sure that there is a smooth transition, particularly when it comes to the vaccine distribution, the coronavirus, that everybody understands what we’re doing there and what the plan is for the future.”

“It was good, actually, to see President Trump tweet out that he won. I think that’s a start of an acknowledgment,” Hutchinson said.

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that Biden had “won” before backtracking soon after, tweeting, “He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go.”

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, a veteran of the Obama administration, also said the lack of an orderly transition could have national security implications.

“A new government cannot start on Jan. 20 from a standing-still position. This is what transitions are for. Intelligence briefings, PDBs [President’s Daily Briefs], when you’re in office, in national security, are your eyes and ears,” Johnson said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, told “This Week” that Republican leaders should explain the fact of Trump’s loss to Republican voters.

“I think it’s very important for leaders in the Republican Party to explain to our voters, who are not as stupid as the Democrats think, that, in fact, Trump has lost the election and that his claims of election fraud are baseless,” Bolton said.

“The fact is that we’ve seen litigation in all the key battleground states, and it has failed consistently,” he added. “Right now, the Trump campaign is doing the legal equivalent of pitching pennies.”

The General Services Administration has refused to sign off on the beginning of the transition process for Biden’s team, despite several Republican senators calling for Biden to begin receiving intelligence briefings.

Updated on Nov. 16 at 6:09 a.m.

Tags Asa Hutchinson Chuck Todd Donald Trump Joe Biden John Bolton Mike DeWine

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