Sunday, April 18

White House Rejects Biden’s Claims of Obstruction Transition as ‘False Statements’

White House Rejects Biden's Claims of Obstruction Transition as 'False Statements'

President Donald Trump’s administration has accused President-elect Joe Biden’s team of lying about how cooperative it has been with transition efforts, less than a month before Biden’s set to be sworn into office.

In a letter Thursday addressed to the head of Biden’s transition team, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Russ Voight wrote he wanted to “correct several false statements” from the Biden camp, which has said repeatedly this week that OMB has been putting up “roadblocks” to the transition.

“Since ascertainment, OMB has provided significant briefing materials on its operations, and has provided factual information about ongoing programs to the [Biden transition team] upon request,” he wrote. “We have taken more than 45 meetings with your staff to discuss specific issues, operational questions, and more.”

But Voight did acknowledge some tension over what his office has been willing to do to work with the Biden team—suggesting he thinks that Biden’s expecting too much from the outgoing administration.

“What we have not done and will not do is use current OMB staff to write (the Biden administration’s) legislative policy proposals to dismantle this Administration’s work. OMB staff are working on this Administration’s policies and will do so until this Administration’s final day in office,” Voight wrote.

Biden’s team received $9.9 million from the federal government to ensure a smooth transition, Voight noted.

“Any work to develop Biden Administration policies should be done by that team,” he wrote.

The letter comes just three days after Biden, in a public address, accused Trump officials of “obstruction.”

“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” Biden said, specifically calling out the budget office and the Department of Defense. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”

Biden transition’s executive director, Johannes Abraham, repeated those concerns about obstruction.

“OMB leadership’s refusal to fully cooperate impairs our ability to identify opportunities to maximize the relief going out to Americans during the pandemic, and it leaves us in the dark as it relates to COVID-related expenditures and critical gaps,” he told reporters.

Biden’s transition team didn’t immediately respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment on Voight’s letter.

It’s not the first public spat between the two sides as Biden prepares to take the reins at the White House.

The Biden camp traded barbs with the Department of Defense on December 18 over the rescheduling of several meetings and a perceived lack of cooperation.

Defense Secretary Chris Miller released a statement claiming both sides had agree to a holiday pause—a claim Abraham denied.

“Let me be clear: there was no mutually agreed upon holiday break,” he said in a virtual briefing with reporters after Miller’s statement was released.

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