Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations [May 17, 2017] [open pdf - 924KB]
"The President's authority to exercise power begins immediately upon being sworn into office and continues until he is no longer the officeholder. By the same token, while congressional oversight of the executive branch is continuous, some activities may take on special significance at the end or beginning of an Administration. The disposition of government records (including presidential records and vice presidential records), protections against 'burrowing in' (which involves the conversion of political appointees to career status in the civil service), the granting of pardons, and the issuance of 'midnight rules' are four activities associated largely with the outgoing President's Administration. The incumbent President may also submit a budget to Congress, or he may defer to his successor on this matter. Continuing this transition process, the first actions of a new President generally focus on establishing the priorities and leadership of the Administration. These can include executive orders, appointments to positions that require Senate confirmation as well as those that do not, and efforts to influence the pace and substance of agency rulemaking. Depending upon the particular activity or function, the extent and type of Congress's involvement in presidential transitions may vary. As an example of direct involvement, the Senate confirms the President's appointees to certain positions. On the other hand, Congress is not involved in the issuance of executive orders, but it may exercise oversight, or take some other action regarding the Administration's activities."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34722
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html