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Current and former Trump officials privately reach out to President-elect Biden

The officials stressed that the outreach does not replace the national security and Covid-19 briefings the Trump administration has been refusing to provide Biden.
Image: President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the U.S. economy after a briefing in Wilmington, Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden removes his mask to speak about the economy after attending a briefing in Wilmington, Del., on Monday.Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Current and former Trump administration officials have privately reached out to President-elect Joe Biden's transition team even as President Donald Trump continues to refuse defeat and falsely claim victory, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Two Biden transition officials said Wednesday that it was only a few current and former Trump administration officials, and they described it as "not a big deal." However, it suggests there are people in Trump's orbit who believe Biden will be the next president even if Trump refuses to concede and his legal team mounts meritless lawsuits to challenge the results in several states.

The news was first reported by CNN.

The officials stressed that the outreach is not in any way a replacement for the national security and Covid-19 briefings the Trump administration refuses to provide Biden's teams.

Trump's refusal to concede has delayed the General Services Administration from certifying Biden's transition, creating a delay that has blocked Biden's team from starting the orderly process of taking over the expansive federal bureaucracy.

Kate Bedingfield, a spokesperson for the Biden transition team, said in a statement Wednesday that despite the outreach, the GSA still needs to certify the transition.

"It requires more than former officials choosing to step forward and be helpful to ensure a smooth transition of power," she said. "GSA should follow the law and ascertain the results of the election so that Americans get a smooth and effective handoff between administrations."

During a virtual town hall with front-line health care workers Wednesday, Biden said the lack of briefings could put his administration behind in distributing vaccines.

"And there's a whole lot of things we just don't have available to us, so unless it's made available to us soon, we'll be behind by weeks or months to put together the initiative relating to the biggest problem we have, with two drug companies coming along and finding 95 percent effectiveness efficiency in the vaccines, which is enormous promise," he said.

Biden's team is tapping recently departed Justice Department officials as part of an effort to prepare a transition without cooperation from the Trump administration.

Pressure has increased, some of it from Republicans in Congress, to allow Biden to begin the transition process, especially on security-sensitive issues, such as intelligence and the Covid-19 response. Several Republican lawmakers have said the Biden team should receive briefings even as Trump challenges the results, without evidence, in court.