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GSA Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Joe Biden's transition team is warning that it may take "legal action" if the General Services Administration fails to make an official determination that Biden has won the election.

Driving the news: GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, a Trump political appointee, has not made the declaration — a so-called "ascertainment" — that would allow officials from Biden’s agency review teams access to the information they need in order to get to work.

  • "There's a number of levers on the table and all options are certainly available," a Biden transition official told reporters.
  • "It's a changing situation and certainly rather fluid."

The big picture: The Presidential Transition Act governs how the outgoing administration is required to cooperate with the incoming one, smoothing the way for a peaceful transfer for power.

  • Most official GSA ascertainments have been made within 24 hours of the election, with the exception of the 2000 contest, when the outcome in Florida was down to some 500 votes, the officials said.

Why it matters: Absent a GSA declaration, the incoming administration doesn’t have access to agencies to look at the non-public books, slowing their ability to change policy direction. They also don’t have access to:

  • Office space, computers and mobile phones.
  • The $6.3 million in appropriated funds.
  • Classified information or secured facilities to review it.
  • The ability to request security clearances or background checks for potential cabinet nominees.

Go deeper

Legacy civil rights groups: Biden's transition needs to include us

President-elect Joe Biden at the NAACP 110th National Convention last year. Photo: Bill Pugliano via Getty

Prominent civil rights leaders are concerned that President-elect Joe Biden is deciding his administration without their input, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: As Biden looks to deliver his promise of forming a diverse administration, he will have to contend with different factions of the liberal movement that might pull him in different directions.

24 mins ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals.