Speed Reads

election 2020

Trump appointee encouraged USAID colleagues not to cooperate with Biden transition team

John Barsa, acting deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told staffers during a phone call on Monday that they won't work with the incoming Biden administration until another Trump appointee signs paperwork formally ascertaining the winner of the election, three people familiar with the phone call told The Washington Post.

Once the administrator of the General Services Administration signs that paperwork, the transition between administrations starts — in this case, President-elect Joe Biden's team would have access to government agencies, computers, office space, and appropriated funds. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, a Trump political appointee, has declined to do this.

The Free Beacon obtained a recording of Barsa's call, during which he is heard saying, "The only official announcement about an election result that matters is from the head of GSA. So until the head of GSA makes a determination as to who won an election, nothing changes — there is no transition in place." Two officials told the Post in other conversations, Barsa has asserted that Biden has not won the election. During Monday's phone call, he also announced that three Trump loyalists are being moved into top agency positions.

Last week, Barsa was set to step down as acting administrator, and took on his current role after the former deputy administrator, Bonnie Glick, was fired by the White House. USAID sends billions of dollars out every year in humanitarian assistance, and over the last few months officials put together a 440-page document that would help both the incoming Biden administration and Trump's team, had he won re-election.