Biden eyes lawsuit to force Trump cooperation with transition team

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Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden is considering legal action to initiate the transition process, as the president has not conceded the election and instead has doubled down on legal challenges in a handful of battleground states.

The Biden campaign has been exploring all options — including legal options — to pressure the General Services Administration to formally recognize Mr. Biden’s win, so the transition process can begin.

Mr. Biden is still considering court action, though he said the country would be better off without more litigation.

“We haven’t ruled it out,” Mr. Biden said Thursday.

Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law, said a lawsuit filed by Mr. Biden against the GSA at this point makes him “nervous.”

“It would basically force a court to adjudicate if Biden is the ‘apparent’ winner of the election,” he said.

Mr. Biden’s case would be stronger once states formally certify the election results, which could begin for some states in the coming days.

Once the GSA formally recognizes an incoming administration, Mr. Biden would be able to receive classified information and have access to federal funding as he would begin filling appointments in his administration.

Emily Murphy, who President Trump nominated to be the administrator of the GSA in 2017, has not determined that “a winner is clear,” according to a Reuters report from earlier this month.

Media outlets named Mr. Biden the presumptive winner Nov. 7, but some battleground states are still tabulating mail-in ballots and the president’s campaign has alleged wide-spread voter fraud.

They’ve filed several lawsuits, trying to change the outcome of the election as Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden by a slim margin in at least three swing states.

Typically, the GSA has not waited to decide a clear winner after an election is called, but given that the outcome is currently being contested in the courts like it was in 2000, there is precedent for holding off. During the Clinton administration, the administrator of the GSA did delay for weeks recognizing President George W. Bush as the apparent winner.

It took about five weeks for the transition process to begin 20 years ago when Mr. Bush was in a legal fight over the Florida recount with Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore. The transition was formally recognized on Dec. 13, after Mr. Gore conceded.

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