“Trump Administration Is Planting Loyalists in Biden Transition Meetings”

“Supporters of the president are monitoring many of the conversations between Biden teams and civil servants, chilling the flow of information.”

“WASHINGTON — Loyalists to President Trump have blocked transition meetings at some government agencies and are sitting in on discussions at other agencies between career civil servants and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s transition teams, sometimes chilling conversations, several federal officials said.

At the Environmental Protection Agency, political appointees have joined virtually every discussion between career staff members and Mr. Biden’s team, monitoring conversations on climate change, scientific research and other topics. At the State Department such drop-ins are happening on what Trump appointees define as an as-needed basis. On Tuesday Mr. Biden’s transition team was allowed for the first time into the National Security Agency, but at the United States Agency for Global Media, parent of Voice of America, the Trump-appointed leader is refusing to cooperate with the Biden transition team, two agency officials confirmed.

Presidential transition experts said the presence of political officials at agency handoff meetings was not unheard-of and could even be seen as helpful. President George W. Bush, for example, worked closely in late 2008 with Barack Obama’s incoming team to help calm volatile financial markets. But against a backdrop of Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede election defeat, the actions of Trump appointees appeared to be a pernicious effort to slow the transition, some experts said.”

Lisa Friedman reports for the New York Times December 8, 2020.