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Lee Wolosky, right, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in 2016. Photo: Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty Images

President Biden is tapping former ambassador Lee Wolosky, who led President Obama’s efforts to shut down Guantanamo Bay, to coordinate the administration’s legal efforts to resettle Afghan evacuees, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By bringing in a seasoned attorney with experience in the public and private sector, Biden is trying to ensure that his administration’s unprecedented resettlement program stands on solid legal footing.

  • Wolosky, who will serve as a special counsel to the president, will take a leave from his firm, Jenner & Block LLP, to work with the National Security Council (NSC) and other administration officials on resettlement, as well as other issues related to the U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan.
  • Under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Wolosky served as Director of Transnational Threats on the National Security Council at the White House.
  • Obama put him in charge of efforts to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in 2015 and made him an ambassador in 2016.

The big picture: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said that at least 50,000 Afghans are expected to be admitted into the United States after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

  • Last week, Biden appointed Jack Markell, a former governor of Delaware, to temporarily lead the Afghan resettlement effort in the United States.
  • The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday urged Congress to provide an additional $6.4 billion for Afghan allies in part "to support processing sites overseas and in the United States," according to a blog post from OMB Acting Director Shalanda Young.

Go Deeper: Wolosky will be designated a special government employee with the expectation that he will serve for under 130 days.

Go deeper

Biden picks Caroline Kennedy, Michelle Kwan for ambassador roles

Caroline Kennedy (left) and Michelle Kwan (right). Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe (left), Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images (right).

President Biden on Wednesday announced he intends to nominate Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Australia and Olympian Michelle Kwan as ambassador to Belize.

Why it matters: Senate confirmations of Biden's diplomatic appointments have been slow compared to his predecessors, and embassy roles have remained empty.

Updated 8 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

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