Some Trump administration officials have quietly reached out to President-elect Joe Biden’s team despite the president’s refusal to concede, CNN reports.
The administration is blocking the transition team from beginning its work and members have been instructed not to communicate with Biden’s team.
But some current and former officials, including political appointees, have reached out to the team regardless out of a sense of “duty,” one official told CNN.
The officials stressed that the outreach has been “informal.”
"Nothing that would get us in trouble," one official said. "Just an offer to be of help. They know what we mean, and what we can-and-can't do or say."
The official added that thus far there have not been “any substantive conversations.”
Biden team presses forward:
Several Biden aides acknowledged the outreach and said it was a byproduct of preexisting relationships in certain fields. But it does not match the cooperation necessary for a traditional transition of power.
"It requires more than former officials choosing to step forward and be helpful to ensure a smooth transition of power," top Biden adviser Kate Bedingfield told CNN. "GSA should follow the law and ascertain the results of the election so that Americans get a smooth and effective hand off between administrations."
White House cracks down:
Some administration officials are being warned to ignore any outreach attempts from Biden’s team.
Staffers at the Department of Health and Human Services were told on Wednesday that they are not to communicate with Biden’s team and must alert the deputy surgeon general of any communication attempts.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday that his agency would not work with Biden’s team until the General Services Administration signs off on the transition.
"We've made it very clear that when GSA makes a determination, we will ensure complete, cooperative professional transitions and planning," Azar said. "We follow the guidance. We're about getting vaccines and therapeutics invented and get the clinical trial data and saving lives here. That's where our focus is as we go forward with our efforts."