Transition Roundup: Biden Asks Fauci to Stay; USAID Watchdog Probes Possible Records Violation
There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.
The Election Assistance Commission outlined on Thursday how the agency helps states facilitate safe and fair elections. “We, as the only federal agency completely dedicated to election administration, have confidence in the state and local election administrators who ran the 2020 election and the voting systems certified by the EAC,” said the statement. In reference to voting systems (which states decide how to certify), 38 use a combination of the EAC’s standards and certification, 12 of the 38 mandate full certification from the agency and the remainder “have developed their own guidelines, most based on the EAC’s standards.” Meanwhile, President Trump keeps advancing his claim that the election was “rigged.” Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed.
President-elect Biden said on CNN on Thursday that he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to remain in his role as well as be his chief medical adviser and member of his coronavirus response team. “We have to make it clear to the American people that the vaccine is safe when it occurs—when that is determined,” he said. And we “don't have to close down the economy, like a lot of folks are talking about now,” but rather can provide businesses with “clear guidance” and “the wherewithal to not lose your business.”
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said during a press conference on Thursday that she took herself out of consideration to be Health and Human Services Department secretary in the Biden administration. “My focus is right here in Rhode Island, as I have said,” she stated, Politico reported.
Hispanic groups and lawmakers are upset by how the Biden transition team has treated New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham because it leaked that she was offered, but rejected the role of Interior secretary. Many advocacy groups have been pushing for her to be HHS secretary, The Hill reported on Thursday.
During the summer and fall, the Democratic consulting firm Saguaro Strategies redid the Wikipedia page for Jeff Zients, who was recently tapped to lead the Biden administration's pandemic response, Politico reported on Thursday. The firm “corrected some inaccuracies, but its overall goal was to portray Zients as more progressive and remove or massage anything that could be politically damaging,” said the report. Zients is the co-chair of the transition team and a former top official from the Obama administration.
White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah resigned on Thursday, The Washington Post reported. In her resignation letter she outlined her proudest accomplishments during her three and a half year tenure.
The inspector general for the U.S. Agency for International Development is looking into the possible violations of the Federal Records Act by top officials, CNBC reported on Thursday. “The apparent probe is directed at John Barsa, the foreign aid agency’s acting deputy administrator, and his close aide Bethany Kozma, among others,” according to the report. “The focus appears to be on the removal of social media accounts tied to former senior USAID leaders...Social media accounts dedicated to federal officials are deemed federal records under the law and deletion of this type of documentation could lead to fines or up to three years in prison.” Additionally, preservation of records is one of the federal agencies’ responsibilities during a transition.
Upcoming: Biden will deliver remarks about the final jobs report of 2020. The time is unclear, so far.
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