Former Gov. Bill Haslam weighs in on the 2020 presidential election

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam issued a statement calling on the Trump Administration to give President-elect Joe Biden’s team access to transition information.

The statement, issued to WATE 6 On Your Side, echoes the calls for a cooperative transition issued by the National Council on Election Integrity, of which Haslam is one of 40 members.

Haslam is joined by other Tennessee Republicans, former U.S. Senator Bill Frist and former U.S. Representative Zach Wamp on the bipartisan council that issued a group statement Thursday.

Haslam has spoken about President Trump before, in October 2016 he issued a statement expressing his concerns, “too many of the things he has said during his campaign.”

Haslam’s statement to WATE is in response to the General Services Administration not recognizing Biden as the winner, a step that would allow President-elect Biden and his advisers access to resources for a transition, like an intelligence briefing.

“While President Trump deserves to make sure that every vote is counted and counted correctly, it is very unlikely that the results will be overturned. For the good of the country, the Biden team needs to be given full access to the national security information and transition support of the federal government.”

“In many ways, the transition period is the most important time of a new administration. That is when you are picking your team and having the right people in the right places is critical. Once you are in office, things are moving so fast that you never again have the same opportunity to step back and assess the needs and opportunities.”

Statement, Bill Haslam spokesperson

Bipartisan group: “The outcome of the presidential election is clear”

Haslam, Wamp, and Frist are three members of the National Council on Election Integrity, which is a project of Issue One.

The statement, released Thursday, calls for the transition to start immediately because, “National security demands that the President-elect and new administration be fully prepared.”

The council writes that by ensuring the transition between administrations begins quickly, the U.S. can avoid mistakes made two decades ago between the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations.

“We call on General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily W. Murphy to release the funds, facilities, and other services necessary to start a smooth and efficient transition, in accordance with the law. Responsible stewardship of our democratic republic requires that GSA and other pertinent agencies be allowed to cooperate with President-Elect Joe Biden on appropriate intelligence briefings and transition plans, including the President’s Daily Brief.”

National Council on Election Integrity Statement

The group, also responsible for Count Every Vote, consists of former elected officials, former Cabinet Secretaries, former Ambassadors, and retired military officials, both Republicans and Democrats.

The statement specifically calls on the The General Services Administration, which has yet to officially “ascertain” a winner. The move that leaves Biden and his team without access to resources for a smooth transition — including classified intelligence briefings and installing new leadership.

Read the full statement here.

Former GOP Senator and U.S. Representative on election

Bill Frist served as Senate Majority Leader from 2003-2007. In total, he represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate for 12 years.

Frist wrote on Twitter Thursday sharing the statement from the National Council on Election Integrity and congratulating President-elect Joe Biden.

Former U.S. Representative Zach Wamp also took to Twitter replying to one of President Trump’s tweets Sunday morning.

Wamp considers himself one of the “last generations of true bipartisans,” according to his personal website. He served in Congress representing Tennessee’s 3rd congressional district from 1995-2011.

The district is based in Chattanooga and includes large parts of East Tennessee, including Oak Ridge.

Trump and his team have made numerous claims of election fraud, those claims have not been substantiated and critics doubt anything found would be enough to overturn the result. ABC News reports, President Trump has a long history of calling elections “rigged,” as revealed by ABC News this week, despite there being no evidence of mass voter fraud.

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