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Experts: Trump Could "Seriously Impede" Transition

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020   

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Members of the National Task Force on Election Crises are speaking out about President Donald Trump's refusal to concede the election, saying it could have major repercussions if it continues.

The head of the General Services Administration is holding up almost $10 million for the Biden/Harris transition. Kate Shaw, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York, said she expects the voter fraud lawsuits launched by the Trump campaign to fail.

"It is very difficult for me to see the GSA administrator defensively continuing to decline to make this determination," she said, "which does, I think, very much hinder the transition team."

All federal agencies have briefing books and a transition team in place, but it is unclear if they will be allowed to cooperate with Biden staffers before the lawsuits are resolved.

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said she sees Trump's tweets as part of a disinformation campaign to sow distrust.

"It can make it more difficult in the future to have buy-in on a common agenda," she said, "and in this moment of a global pandemic, that could actually risk American lives."

Just before the election, Trump issued an executive order making it easier to fire civil servants without cause. Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, warned that the outgoing president could use the new powers to wreak havoc.

"If you use it on a whole bunch of people in the infectious-disease area at CDC and FDA, not to mention Anthony Fauci or Deborah Birx," he said, "it will make the next couple of months -- where the pandemic is on the rise -- much, much more difficult."

Ornstein also said he worries that the president will pardon staffers who destroy records, such as the presidential communications with foreign leaders, the child-separation policy at the southern border and government contracts.

"I'm particularly concerned about the preservation of records for people who are going to want to cover their tracks," he said, "both for potential criminal culpability but also embarrassment."

The task force is urging Congress to pass House Resolution 1, a package of democracy reforms.

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Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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