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Sen. Tom Udall in 2020. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden will nominate former New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall as his ambassador to New Zealand, tapping another onetime senator to serve in his state department.

Why it matters: Biden is drawing heavily on politicians, longtime aides and former diplomats as he fills out his ambassadorial ranks, giving short shrift to pure political donors.

  • He is also expected to nominate Jane Hartley, the former ambassador to France, as his pick for the Court of St. James in the United Kingdom, according to people familiar with the matter.

What he's saying: "Having dedicated my life to public service and having served as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee focusing on policies that promote democracy, international development, and conservation, I am honored to be nominated by President Biden to this next role serving our great country," Udall said in a statement.

  • "Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa is an important diplomatic post for the United States, for New Zealand, Samoa, and for the Indo-Pacific, and this position—working with one of our closest partners and allies—is integral as we work closely with New Zealand to confront the challenges facing our nations—including COVID-19, climate, and China."

The big picture: Biden still plans to nominate political ambassadors for roughly 30% of his openings and fill the remaining slots with career foreign services officers.

  • On Friday he announced three more names from the diplomatic corps: Caryn McClelland, for Brunei Darussalam, Michael Murphy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Howard Van Vranken for Botswana.

Go deeper: If confirmed by the Senate, Udall will join former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who was picked for Turkey, and former Sen. Ken Salazar, who has been nominated for Mexico.

Editor's note: This post was updated with Friday's nominations.

Go deeper

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.

Jan. 6 chair: Panel will ask Ivanka Trump to cooperate with investigation

Former President Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump walk to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on January 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot said Thursday that the panel is soon going to ask Ivanka Trump to cooperate with the investigation.

Driving the news: "You will anticipate the committee inviting some people to come talk to us," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters in the Capitol, adding, "not lawmakers right now — Ivanka Trump."

58 mins ago - World

Putin is challenging Ukraine's "right to exist," Blinken says

Blinken (L) speaks in Berlin on Thursday. Photo: Kay Nietfeld - Pool/Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken put the stakes of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in stark terms on Thursday, saying Vladimir Putin's threat is a direct challenge to Ukraine's "right to exist" as an independent country and a democracy.

What he's saying: “There’s been a lot of speculation about President Putin’s true intentions, but we don’t actually have to guess. He’s told us, repeatedly. He’s laying the groundwork for an invasion because he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a sovereign nation," Blinken said during a speech in Berlin.