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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

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."