State Department won’t give Biden messages from foreign leaders: report

The State Department won’t give President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBrewery launches new Biden beer described as ‘inoffensive and not too bitter’ Deb Haaland says ‘of course’ she would serve as Interior secretary under Biden State Department won’t give Biden messages from foreign leaders: report MORE or his transition team dozens of messages that foreign leaders have given to the department, CNN reported Wednesday. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpState Department won’t give Biden messages from foreign leaders: report Arizona’s GOP AG says people voted Republican, but not for Trump On The Money: Biden wins America’s economic engines | Progressives praise Biden’s picks for economic transition team | Restaurants go seasonal with winter shutdowns during pandemic MORE’s administration is preventing Biden from accessing the messages that were sent after Biden was projected as the president-elect over the weekend, State Department officials familiar with the messages told CNN. 

The department typically organizes the communications with presidents-elect, but the Trump administration has refused to recognize Biden’s win and grant his team access to transition information and resources.

The Biden transition team instead has conducted calls with foreign leaders without State Department help, but a source familiar with the situation told CNN, “They would prefer to be using the State Department resources.”

Sources told CNN that some foreign leaders determined the State Department will not get them in contact with Biden, prompting them to reach out to former diplomats from the Obama administration for help. 

The Biden team is attempting to handle the nonsensitive calls in an unexpected turn of events, including releasing readouts of the calls. 

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoState Department won’t give Biden messages from foreign leaders: report Trump national security adviser slams China over ouster of pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong GOP chair deletes tweet acknowledging Harris would be ‘deciding vote’ in 50-50 Senate MORE drew criticism on Tuesday for saying “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” then cracking a smile after Biden has been widely recognized to have won the election.

Trump has refused to concede to the former vice president, and his campaign has filed several lawsuits in battleground states contesting the ballot count and alleging widespread voter fraud without any substantiating evidence. 

Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, has not recognized Biden as the president-elect, preventing the team from having access to transition materials and millions of dollars in federal funding that would pay for salaries and travel.

Without this acknowledgement, the president-elect also cannot receive intelligence briefings, prompting concerns that the team will have to catch up on the information after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

CNN noted that normally the State Department permits former presidents and vice presidents to use department resources to call foreign leaders whenever they want, but the Trump administration is preventing Biden and his team from having access.

The Biden transition team said earlier this week that it’s considering legal action to obtain access to transition of power materials. 

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