Biden's transition formally begins

By Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 5:13 AM ET, Wed November 25, 2020
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9:33 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

White House chief of staff notifies West Wing staff of formal transition

From CNN’s Kaitlan Collins

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

After weeks of delay, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows notified West Wing staff in an email Monday night that the transition process to the Biden administration was formally underway, making it clear that staff should not speak with the Biden team unless authorized by the administration.

 "As you may have seen, the GSA Administrator has made an ascertainment to allow for the start of a Presidential transition," Meadows wrote in an email shown to CNN. "I want to remind all EOP employees of existing procedures and guidance that we must adhere to throughout this Administration," adding "our work here is not finished."

Meadows cited the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 and noted that executive office of the President must adhere to communications guidelines and records guidelines. Meadows said he had appointed liaisons in each office to be the point of contact and said that person should deal with the incoming team. 

"Unless specifically authorized EOP personnel are not permitted to speak directly with a member of the Biden Transition Team or the Federal Transition Coordinator," Meadows wrote in bolded letters. 

"Keep it up," he signed off.

10:43 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Biden will publicly introduce his foreign policy and national security picks today

From CNN's Sarah Mucha and Gregory Krieg

AP/Getty/Shutterstock/SIPA
AP/Getty/Shutterstock/SIPA

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will publicly announce their nominees and appointees to key national security and foreign policy posts today at 1:00 p.m. ET, according to a transition team news release.

Their six foreign policy and national security nominees and appointees are expected to join them and speak at the event.

Biden yesterday unveiled a slate of top foreign policy and national security picks, including the first woman to lead the US intelligence community and first Latino to helm the Department of Homeland Security.

Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas, a former deputy secretary of DHS who Biden has nominated to lead the department, will be tasked with rebuilding an agency that carried out some of the most draconian measures associated with President Trump's hardline immigration policy, including family separations at the US-Mexico border.

Biden's pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, a former top CIA official and deputy national security adviser, will also make history if confirmed by the Senate.

The choices reflect Biden's desire to construct a diverse Cabinet with experts versed in public policy and deep experience in government. 

The list of nominations and appointments included:

  • Antony Blinken, Secretary of State
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security 
  • Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence 
  • Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations 
  • Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
  • John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate 

Read more here.