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Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden's transition team on Friday named four new top administration hires, including Cathy Russell as director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

Why it matters: Biden and incoming First Lady Jill Biden are turning to more of their own tested allies to guide both policy and outreach.

  • Russell previously served as deputy assistant to the president and chief of staff to Jill Biden during the Obama administration.
  • Russell, whose husband, Tom Donilon, could find himself at CIA or elsewhere in the Cabinet, will further have the delicate task of ensuring that Biden's many friends and former staffers find suitable positions in his administration. 

The other hires:

  • Louisa Terrell has been named director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. She is a seasoned congressional aide who is well respected on both sides of the Capitol, as well as K Street. She served as special assistant to the president for legislative affairs during the Obama administration.
  • Carlos Elizondo has been named White House social secretary. He served as special assistant to the president and social secretary to the Bidens throughout the Obama years. He is the first Hispanic American to serve in the role.
  • Mala Adiga has been named policy director for Jill Biden. She was a senior policy adviser on the Biden campaign.

Go deeper

Hispanic congressmen push for purge of Confederate renaming panel

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro wears a face mask during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill on September 16, 2020. PHOTO: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Two Hispanic congressmen, Reps. Joaquin Castro and Ruben Gallego, are asking Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to remove Trump loyalists from a panel charged with renaming 10 Army bases that honor Confederate leaders.

Why it matters: The request, outlined in a letter Friday written by Castro and Gallego, comes as the Biden administration purges remaining Trump-era appointees and as Hispanic and Black leaders demand that some Army bases be renamed after people of color.

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

41 mins ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

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