The Trump White House’s decision to block routine actions that would facilitate a transition to a Biden administration has added a new layer of turmoil to an already turbulent time.
But this is the Trump era, when many norms of governance have already fallen by the wayside.
Attorney General William Barr has also authorised the Justice Department to probe unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.
Biden campaign lawyer Bob Bauer said Barr’s memorandum authorizing investigations “will only fuel the ‘specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims’ he professes to guard against.”
But some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have rallied behind Trump’s efforts to fight the election results.
According to AP, few in the GOP acknowledged Biden’s victory or condemned Trump’s firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday.
The developments cast doubt on whether the nation would witness the same kind of smooth transition of power that has long anchored its democracy.
The Electoral College is slated to formally confirm Biden’s victory on Dec. 14 and the Democrat will be sworn into office in late January.
The Trump administration has not invited the President-elect to the White House as is the tradition.
The meeting between sitting presidents and Vice Presidents and their successors is a time-honoured tradition that represents the peaceful transfer of power.
But CNN’s White House team has reported there are no plans for President Trump to invite Biden to the White House in the coming days.
That means Biden can’t access additional funds for his transition team, and he hasn’t been cleared to receive intelligence briefings, both touchstones of the formal transition process.
Trump solicits fund to settle election debts
Meanwhile, Trump has set up a GoFundMe account tagged ‘election defence fund’ to solicit money for settling his election expenses.
The UK Guardian reports that Trump spent a little more money than he had for his re-election to the tune of $1.6 billion which he now needs help in repaying.
It said those donating may believe that the money would go towards challenging the election result but the newspapers found that part of the donations would be used in settling election expenses.
Donations can be made to two different funds – Trump’s personal fund, and his joint fund with his party.
“President Trump needs YOU to step up to make sure we have the resources to protect the integrity of the election!” the wording on both funds says, which is featured in a huge pop-up on Trump’s re-election webpage.
It continues: “Please contribute ANY AMOUNT IMMEDIATELY to the Official Election Defense Fund and to increase your impact by 1,000%!”
It is unclear who matches the donations.
On Trump’s personal fund, it dictates that of all donations raised, only 50 per cent will go towards a recount effort, and that “50% of each contribution, up to a maximum of $2,800 ($5,000), [will] be designated toward DJTFP’s 2020 general election account for general election debt retirement until such debt is retired”.
On his joint fund with the RNC, the donations work as follows: “60% of each contribution first to Save America, up to $5,000/$5,000, then to DJTP’s recount account, up to a maximum of $2,800/$5,000. [And] 40% of each contribution to the RNC’s Operating account, up to a maximum of $35,500/$15,000.”