Jan Wolfe at Reuters has put this together looking at whether Joe Biden can transition into power despite Donald Trump’s objections. Somewhat reassuringly, he says the answer is yes.
He writes that the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 makes career civil servants vital to the transfer of power. They face deadlines for providing data and access to incoming officials.
Government officials take an oath to uphold the US constitution. This oath would require recognising Biden as the incoming president if he wins the Electoral College, regardless of what Trump says, said Robert Chesney, a professor of national security law at the University of Texas.
“I find it very hard to believe the military, the Secret Service, the FBI, or any other relevant part of the bureaucracy would go along with Trump if the Electoral College or a court says otherwise,” said Chesney.
Despite the animosity between Trump and Biden on the campaign trail, the Trump administration earlier this year complied with statutory requirements for providing federal office space and government resources to the Biden campaign.
Might the military get involved to crowbar Trump out of the White House if he refuses to budge?
Two veterans had raised the possibility in an “open letter” to top US general, Mark Milley, in August.
“If Donald Trump refuses to leave office at the expiration of his constitutional term, the United States military must remove him by force, and you must give that order,” stated the letter, published in Defense One and written by John Nagl, a retired Army officer, and Paul Yingling, a retired US army lieutenant colonel.
But others have said such a move would be better left to the Secret Service, citing a bedrock legal principle that military personnel should stay out of domestic law enforcement matters.
“We have constitutional processes for dealing with this, and the military is nowhere in that equation,” said Kori Schake, a director of foreign and defence policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
If Trump truly refused to leave the White House, on 20 January he would become a “trespasser”, Chesney said. “The Secret Service would come and escort him out,” he said.
Alexandra Villarreal has an in-depth look for us at what some experts have said about the prospects for the transition here: Will Trump accept defeat and leave the White House? Yes, experts say