Trump is stonewalling Biden’s transition. Here’s why it matters.

President Donald Trump has not just broken President Donald Trump by tradition, he is risking national security, many former government officials and experts said.

Presidential transitions have always operated under a time constraint. In less than three months, outgoing administration and career government officials try to provide intelligence, information, planning, and work to incoming administrators, who are in the process of identifying and hiring thousands of employees is.

Max Stear, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, President and Public Center for Presidential Transitions, said, “The transition is basically about trying to make sure who the president is, they are ready to go on day one Huh.”

The Trump administration’s delay – which has escalated for a week while Trump alleges baseless allegations of widespread fraud and litigation will give him presidential protection – already leads Biden to receive high-level intelligence briefings and fast on the coronovirus To complicate his team’s plans to grow. Biden may also hinder administration staffing and security clearance processes, making it difficult for new administrations to take the reins of government agencies.

Biden’s team said the transition was proceeding despite the Trump administration’s refusal to recognize a new presidential-election, but acknowledged that the longer the delay, the worse the impact.

Here’s what usually happens after the presidential election is declared winner, and what’s at stake in the process.

How does a presidential transition generally work?

Stier said that there are four major parts of the president’s transition: agency review, personnel and staff appointments, policy planning and presidential elections and how vice-presidents spend their time.

Agency reviews include current political appointments to send teams to each agency and meeting with career staff to try to understand everything that happens in each agency.

William Cohen, the Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton who helped organize the incoming Republican administration of George W. Bush, described the process in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday.

He said, “The first thing was that his Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld called. And I said, ‘Don, here are 10 things that I think you really need to see when you come to this office. I will sit down and walk over it. ‘I made a list and it came down to 59. I sat down with him in 59 days for the two items he really had to be concerned about. “” And it’s traditional. It is believed about democracy that you want your successor to be in a position to protect and defend the interests of the American people. “

The next challenge is staffing. Stier said the government has 4,000 political appointees, which requires identifying candidates, screening them, interviewing and hiring. The FBI field investigation is required for certain security clearances, while outside financial interests will have to be disclosed to the Government Ethics Office. About 1,200 of those appointments, Stearn said, require Senate confirmation. The staffing process is carried forward for each new administration, and political insiders fear a delayed transition will mean that key positions will sit vacant for longer than necessary.

“It takes a little while to get a security clearance,” Andy Card, former staff chief of President George W. Bush, said in an interview. “Virtually everyone who works in the White House should have a background check.”

Jeh Johnson, who served as Secretary of Homeland Security, led by President Barack Obama, told NBC News that the general agency review process also allows incoming administrations to identify experienced personnel who want to continue serving in government , Even if the incoming president is a member of a different political party.

“The most senior example of this was that of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. But there were more junior examples. A Bush appointed political [Department of Defense] Johnson said in an email, ‘The General Counsel’s office made a personal appeal to me to stay -‘ let me prove myself. “He was with me in the Pentagon for my entire four years. Another Bush holdover eventually became my Chief of Staff at DHS. Far away, merit matters more than politics. “

The final two components of transition planning include translating legislative and policy proposals into how the presidential-election and vice-president spend their time.

In January 2009, for Obama, who took office in the midst of the Great Recession, it began negotiating and crafting an incentive bill that was tabled in Congress six days after his inauguration and signed into law by February 2009.

The presidential-election traditionally uses the transition period to begin building diplomatic relations, facilitated by the State Department with the help of diplomats by calling with the heads of the State Department.

But before this can happen, the head of the General Services Administration will have to identify the incoming Biden administration by signing a letter of “detection” – a process that has been largely unchecked since the passage of the Presidential Transition Act of 1963. – Has been controversial.

The paperwork triggers the release of millions of dollars in transition funds and allows administration access to incoming government officials. For example, two days after Trump’s election, the Obama administration released a detailed fact sheet detailing how they were proceeding with Trump’s transition.

Johnson recalled the then-President-Elect Trump briefing during the transition and attended the Presidential Daily Brief, a daily intelligence briefing the Trump administration has so far refused to allow Biden to receive.

“I personally visited President-Elect Trump at Trump Tower, telling him a few things that I felt he needed to hear from me,” Johnson said. “I know they appreciated it.”

What is happening now

Biden’s team has forged ahead with the traditional hallmark of a transition: starting a task force to deal with coronoviruses, an immediate issue that will face his administration while naming key employees.

However, top aides have said that the longer the Trump administration waits to trace Biden’s victory, the more it will hurt his ability to hit the ground running on January 20, the day Biden is inaugurated. is.

“Every passing day, there is a lack of access to current classified operations or back channel conversations that are really putting the interests of the American people as it relates to their national security,” said Biden transition officer Johannes Abraham.

The Biden team has announced agency review teams, but those teams are yet to meet with current government employees. A source close to the transition told NBC News that the Biden campaign is starting with people they can talk to outside experts, non-governmental organizations and union leaders.

“Generally what you do is talk to the agency people first and then talk to external stakeholders,” the source said. The Biden transition team is “basically reversing the process and doing the second one first.”

The source said the delays are “manageable right now. If they last longer, it becomes problematic.”

Biden initiates other presidential-elections when it comes to the process of building diplomatic relationships thanks to his eight years as Obama’s vice president.

Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Clann said on MSNBC on Thursday that Biden was on call with foreign leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Pope, who already had his personal phone number.

However, concerns over safety have increased, as Biden’s team is operating without the support traditionally provided by the State Department.

National security at stake

The slow pace of Biden’s transition has raised red flags among previous government officials. Many have pointed to the delayed transition after the 2000 election, which the 9/11 Commission said made it difficult for the Bush administration to move people along quite quickly.

“The new administration did not have its own sub-cabinet officers until the spring of 2001, and the confirmation of key sub-divisional officers was not until summer – if by then. In other words, the new administration – like others before it – took office. It did not have its own team on the job until at least six months later, ”the 9/11 Commission report said, recommending a speedy process for national security appointments.

Both Johnson and Card said that foreign affairs and national security are major concerns.

“The world is very dangerous,” Card said, especially pointing to a fast-growing China.

“Our adversaries seek vulnerable places and moments to take advantage and exploit. If they consider us distracted or disorganized, it could be one of those moments, ”Johnson told NBC News.

Johnson, along with other former Homeland Security chiefs, wrote in a journal that “we don’t even have a day to start the transition.”

Biden’s foreign policy chops may have reduced his learning curve when it comes to early diplomacy, but Card argued that it is not just former vice presidents who need to gain momentum.

“Their learning curve will not be very steep – this is an advantage. But it is not just what the President knows, it is what kind of people advise the President. They say that the learning curve should climb with them, ”Card said, adding that a team of smart advisors is needed to challenge and guide the president.

Card said the Presidency is a difficult task, without adding such surprises or unintended consequences that a short transition could bring.

“Almost any decision that the president makes should be an easy decision,” he said.

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