Joe Biden to name attorney general, defense secretary picks this week


Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden said Monday that he plans to name his pick for defense secretary on Friday and that he could name his pick for attorney general as soon as this week.

Mr. Biden told reporters that he was planning on naming his pick for secretary of Defense on Friday. He didn’t specify on the timing for the AG post beyond saying that the selection could come this week.

Mr. Biden’s team followed up to say he will announce the picks for his defense secretary nominee and “members of his economic and domestic cabinet” before the end of the week.

Potential picks for Mr. Biden‘s defense secretary nominee include Michèle Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration, and Jeh Johnson, a former Homeland Security secretary in the Obama administration.

Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin is also rumored to have risen to become a top contender to lead the Pentagon in the incoming administration as Mr. Biden faces pressure to nominate more Black leaders for Cabinet-level posts.

Gen. Austin led U.S. Central Command until he retired in 2016.

If nominated, he would need a congressional waiver to fill the post as he has not met the required seven years of being removed from the military to fill the Pentagon’s top civilian job.

Ms. Flournoy had been named as a top contender to lead the Pentagon for some time, but she has taken on recent criticism that she’s too close to defense contracting companies.

There has never been a Black or female U.S. defense secretary.

Potential picks for Mr. Biden‘s attorney general nominee include Mr. Johnson, who was the first Black Homeland Security secretary, as well as Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates.

Mr. Jones lost his bid for re-election this year to Republican Tommy Tuberville.

President Trump fired Ms. Yates from her acting attorney general post in 2017 after she refused to defend Mr. Trump’s ban on travel from many majority-Muslim countries.

California attorney general Xavier Becerra, who Mr. Biden named Monday as his pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, was also thought to have been in the mix for attorney general.

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