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Transition from Trump to Biden Presidency officially begins
23 November 2020, 23:28 | Updated: 24 November 2020, 00:34
The transition away from Donald Trump's administration has officially begun after the General Services Administration (GSA) declared Joe Biden the "apparent winner" of the US election.
The federal agency ascertained that Joe Biden has secured enough electoral college votes following the November 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from Donald Trump's administration.
GSA administrator Emily Murphy made the call after Mr Trump's efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Mr Biden's victory on Monday.
"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts," Ms Murphy wrote in a letter to Mr Biden.
"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."
...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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
The move clears the way for Biden aides to begin co-ordinating with federal agencies on plans for the takeover on January 20.
Moments after the announcement, President Trump tweeted: "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, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!"
But he agreed to instruct his team to cooperate with the process "in the best interest of our country".
Former US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, welcomed the news and told LBC that Mr Trump was "the last to get the memo".
"It's extremely important that this happened for reasons of national security," she added.
Pressure had been mounting on Ms Murphy as an increasing number of Republicans, national security experts and business leaders said it was time for that process to move forward.
Retiring Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander, who had repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement saying Mr Trump should "put the country first" and help Mr Biden's administration succeed.
"When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do," Mr Alexander said.
Republican senator Rob Portman has also called for Ms Murphy to release money and staff needed for the transition.