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John Kelly with President Trump in the White House in January 2017.

President Trump's delay in transitioning "hurts out national security," John Kelly, Trump's former chief of staff, told Politico on Friday.

Why it matters: Trump has not publicly conceded to Joe Biden, and General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy — a Trump political appointee — has not signed documents declaring Biden the apparent winner, preventing his agency review teams from having access to the information they need in order to get to work.

What he's saying: "You lose a lot if the transition is delayed because the new people are not allowed to get their head in the game,” Kelly told Politico.

  • “The president, with all due respect, does not have to concede. But it’s about the nation. It hurts our national security because the people who should be getting [up to speed], it’s not a process where you go from zero to 1,000 miles per hour," Kelly, who has at times criticized Trump since leaving the White House in January 2019.
  • Kelly said that Biden should be receiving intelligence briefings because the "transition, in the national security realm in particular and the homeland security realm, is just so important that every day that the transition is delayed really kind of handicaps” the incoming administration.
“I know Mr. Trump better than most people do. I know that he’ll never accept defeat and, in fact, he doesn’t have to accept defeat here. He just has to do what’s best for the country and in the country’s interest.”
— John Kelly

Kelly made similar comments in a statement, published by CNN, later on Friday. "The delay in transitioning is an increasing national security and health crisis," he wrote.

  • "The current administration does not have to concede, but it should do the right thing just in case the Constitutional system declares they lost," he added.
  • "It is not about the GOP or the Democrat Party. It is not about the president or about Mr. Biden. It is about America and what is best for our people. Mr. Trump should order the transition process begin immediately. It is the right and moral thing to do."

The big picture: A growing number of Republican senators, including members of GOP leadership, said Thursday that Biden should get the intelligence briefings that he is currently unable to receive.

  • Republican lawmakers in general, however, are still defending the Trump campaign's legal efforts to overturn result, which could mean weeks of distraction from the work that is necessary to ensure a smooth transition of power.

Go deeper: More foreign leaders have called to congratulate Biden than GOP senators

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

The digital dollar is now high priority for the Fed

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. is starting to get serious about a central-bank-backed digital currency, with recent comments from top officials laying out the strongest support yet.

Driving the news: On Tuesday Fed chair Jerome Powell told Congress that developing a digital dollar is a "high priority project for us," but added that there are "significant technical and policy questions."

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Coinbase files to go public

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on Thursday filed to go public via a $1 billion direct listing.

Why it matters: This comes in the midst of a crypto boom, and the listing may further legitimize the industry.

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