John Kelly says Trump delaying the transition process for Biden 'hurts our national security'

  • President Donald Trump's former chief of staff said the delay in the transition process for President-election Joe Biden hurts US national security.
  • "It's about the nation. It hurts our national security," John Kelly told Politico of the delay in the transition process.
  • Trump has refused to concede to Biden, and the federal agency responsible for the transition process has not yet formally recognized the former vice president as the winner of the election.
  • When Trump won in 2016, the acting General Services Administration administrator gave the go-ahead to begin the transition process the day after Election Day.
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Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said the delay in moving forward with the transition process for President-elect Joe Biden was hurting US national security. 

"You lose a lot if the transition is delayed because the new people are not allowed to get their head in the game," Kelly, who served as President Donald Trump's chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019, told Politico on Friday.

"The president, with all due respect, does not have to concede. But it's about the nation. It hurts our national security because the people who should be getting [up to speed], it's not a process where you go from zero to 1,000 miles per hour," Kelly added. 

Trump has refused to concede to Biden thus far, pushing baseless allegations of mass voter fraud. His campaign is pursuing a number of longshot legal challenges, though none appear likely to change the outcome of the election. Biden has won a clear Electoral College majority and has been recognized as president-elect by leaders across the world.

The president's rejection of the results has led to a delay in the transition process. Emily Murphy, the Trump-appointed head of the General Services Administration (GSA), has declined to formally recognize Biden as the apparent or likely winner of the election.

It's Murphy's role under federal law to issue a letter of "ascertainment" on the election results, which officially triggers the onset of the transition. GSA is a massive agency that keeps the federal government running and is central to facilitating the transition process from one administration to another.

Murphy's refusal to declare Biden as the likely winner of the election has effectively frozen resources, including funding, meant to make the transition process easier. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has also said Biden will not receive high-level intelligence briefings until GSA gives the green light. 

After Trump won in 2016, the acting GSA administrator gave the go-ahead to begin the transition process on November 9 of that year, just one day after Election Day.

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