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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.

Driving the news: Minutes after Murphy's letter was first reported by CNN, President Trump tweeted that he recommended the GSA begin the transition "in the best interest of our Country."

  • Notably, Murphy said in her letter that she came to her decision "independently" and did not receive pressure from the executive branch.
  • In his tweet, Trump refused to concede to President-elect Biden and vowed to keep fighting.

What she's saying: “To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination," Murphy said.

  • "I take this role seriously and because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you," she added.
  • Murphy said her “decision was not made out of fear or favoritism.”
  • “Instead, I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA Administrator ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-election. Unfortunately, the statute provides no procedures or standards for this process, so I looked to precedent from prior elections involving legal challenges and incomplete counts.”
  • “GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified. These are issues that the Constitution, federal laws and state laws leaves to the election certification process and decisions by courts of competent jurisdictions."
  • "I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consider amendments to the Act."
  • Worth noting: Murphy does not address Biden as president-elect in the letter.

Yohannes Abraham, the Biden-Harris transition executive director, said in a statement that "[t]oday’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track."

  • "In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies," he added."

Go deeper: Read Murphy's full letter via DocumentCloud.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout, including clarifying that Murphy did not address Biden as president-elect in the letter.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on Trump's impeachment trial: "I think it has to happen"

President Biden told CNN Monday that he believes the impeachment trial of former President Trump "has to happen," but he does not think 17 Republicans will join Democrats to vote to convict.

Why it matters: Biden's comments are most concrete he has made about his views on Trump's second impeachment.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Tears, hugs, cheers as U.S. reacts to Chauvin guilty verdict

People react after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

People across the U.S. rallied into the night Tuesday, cheering, hugging and crying tears of relief after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd.

Driving the news: After Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump tweeted, "GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. ... Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!"

Columbus police officer fatally shoots Black teenage girl

Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the fatal police shooting of a Black teenage girl in Columbus on Tuesday afternoon.

Of note: The shooting of the girl, identified by family members as Ma'Khia Bryant, 16, occurred just before the verdict was announced in the Minneapolis murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, and as the nation grapples with police reform.