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New York Times photo by Amr Alfiky / President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris meet with their COVID-19 Advisor Council via teleconference in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday.

Finally, late this week, the number of Republican leaders who have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden inched into low double digits. Meanwhile, Biden flipped the fourth and fifth red states blue as election experts projected he would win Arizona and Georgia — bringing his electoral vote total to 306.

Encouragingly, an increasing number of Senate Republicans already had began saying that President-elect Joe Biden should be granted access to classified briefings and a normal presidential transition. It was an acknowledgment of election results, despite President Trump's desperate insistence that he will win.

Of course, there are still another handful of Republicans who continue to amplify the president's baseless claims about widespread election fraud as Trump refuses to concede.

But one of the interesting examples of early budding bipartisanship is Maine's Sen. Susan Collins, who on Monday was one of the first to congratulate Biden — just a couple of days after he phoned her to tip his hat to her Senate win. On Thursday, Collins took another step toward bipartisanship by being among the first to tell reporters that, yes, Biden should already be receiving presidential briefings.

"That doesn't in any way preclude President Trump from pursuing his legal remedies if he believes there are irregularities, but it should not delay the transition, because we want the president-elect — assuming he prevails — to be ready on day one," Collins said.

Sen. James Lankford , R-Okla., who sits on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, followed up by saying he would intervene if Biden's access does not begin soon. And according to reporting by The Washington Post, there already is a consensus among Senate Republicans that Biden should be privy to the nation's classified secrets.

"I see no problem" with Biden getting briefings, said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the most senior Republican in the Senate.

"I think so, yes," agreed South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, an ardent Trump ally.

Even Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas agreed. "Whether he actually gets the product itself, I think the information needs to be communicated in some way," Cornyn said. "If in fact he does win in the end, I think they need to be able to hit the ground running."

There was a similar consensus among three well-known Tennessee statesmen — former Gov. Bill Haslam, former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist and former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp.

"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," Haslam said in a statement. "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."

Current elected Republicans in Tennessee, most notably Gov. Bill Lee, still have not conceded that Trump has lost the election.

For now, the lack of those briefings or transition access have not slowed the pace of Biden's planning as his team prepares for taking office on Jan. 20.

Biden already has named a COVID-19 task force, and announced Ron Klain as his incoming White House chief of staff. Klain, 59 has been a senior adviser to Democratic presidents, vice presidents, candidates and senators. The Post described him this way: "A strategist with a legal mind and political ear, Klain is the sort of behind-the-scenes Washington hand more common in decades past, an operative who has managed everything from an Ebola outbreak to candidate debates to judicial confirmations."

Biden also, in talking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, has firmly inserted himself in talks about a coronavirus relief package by the end of the year. And the president-elect talked Thursday with Pope Francis to express a desire that they work together on issues including poverty, climate change and immigration.

Seeing Biden's determined focus juxtaposed beside the slow movement of elected Republicans even seemed to prompt influential GOP financiers and strategists to weigh in. Folks like Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who with his wife has given more than $75 million to super PACs supporting Trump. And folks like Karl Rove.

"The president does a disservice to his more rabid supporters by insisting that he would have won the Nov. 3 election absent voter fraud. That's simply false," said an editorial in The Las Vegas Review-Journal, a newspaper owned by Adelson and his family.

Rove this week published a Wall Street Journal op-ed essay under the headline, "This Election Result Won't Be Overturned."

Until Friday, a sulking Donald Trump stayed mostly out of sight and away from governing.

The Washington Post noted that on Thursday, six American service members were killed in a helicopter crash during a peacekeeping mission in Egypt; Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in North Florida, contributing to severe flooding; the number of Americans infected with the novel coronavirus continued at a record-setting pace, sending the stock market tumbling. Neither Trump nor his aides briefed reporters on any of that news, its impact or our government's reaction.

We're really looking forward to a refreshing bit of bipartisan leadership.

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