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NIAID director Anthony Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's refusal to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team hurts public health as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

The state of play: As Trump refuses to concede the election to Biden, General Services Administration administrator Emily Murphy has not signed documents declaring Biden the apparent winner, preventing the president-elect's agency review teams from having access to information they need in order to get to work.

What he's saying: Fauci, who has served for 36 years under six presidents, said the transition process is "like passing a baton in a race." 

  • "You don't want to stop and then give it to somebody. You want to just essentially keep going, and that's what transition is. So it certainly would make things more smoothly if we could do that." 
  • Asked if he would like to start working with Biden's team from a public health perspective, Fauci responded, "Of course, that's obvious. Of course it would be better if we could start working with them."

Go deeper

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

GSA agrees to brief Congress on transition delay next week

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy has declined House Democrats' request to testify about delays to the presidential transition by Monday, instead telling members she will have a deputy attend a hearing next week.

The backdrop: 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 typically given to transition teams. House committee chairs in a series of letters on Monday urged Murphy to end the delay.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman says Biden transition funds should be released

Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) wrote in an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer that while he supports legal checks on the 2020 presidential election, the General Services Administration should provide the funds and infrastructure for a Biden transition to begin.

Why it matters: Portman was a co-chair of Trump's re-election campaign in Ohio and rarely steps out of line with party leadership. He wrote in the op-ed that "there is no evidence as of now of any widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the result in any state."

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