Transition of Power: The Presidency

Synopsis: A behind the scenes look of how the American Presidency is peacefully transferred from one person to another on Inauguration Day.
120 min

of the United States is

a $4 trillion business.

No private business even

remotely approaches it.

So imagine having

to take over

a $4 trillion business

in just a few months.

Each candidate

assembles a transition team

to lay our the plans for their

future administration.

Congress appropriates

a total of $13.3 million

to support this process.

Hundreds of people,

in the middle of the campaign,

are involved in planning

this transition.

In effect, each campaign

is assembling

a shadow government.

If you wait

till after the election,

there's no way in the world

that you're going to be ready

to actually run the government

on day one.

What a great job.

(siren blares, stops)

A few weeks after

the candidates are chosen,

there is a crucial moment

in the transition--

the first top secret

national security briefing.


get a certain level

of security briefing.

It's not the crown jewels,

but it's at least

some kind of general overview

of what's going on

in the world.

Classified briefings

ensure continuity

in matters of national security

but are not mandated by law.

They're a tradition

linked to a pivotal

wartime transition

and an incoming president

caught completely unprepared.

Harry Truman,

of course, became president

instantly upon the death

of Franklin Roosevelt,

a couple of months into

Franklin Roosevelt's

fourth term.

He hadn't been vice president

during any

of FDR's other three terms,

so he was a brand-new

vice president

who had gotten

no intelligence briefings

in the middle of World War II.

The number of things

that he did not know

in that moment

really are quite astonishing.

He hadn't been privy to most

of the diplomatic negotiations

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Transition of Power: The Presidency" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 20 Jan. 2020. <>.

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