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Denis McDonough. Photo: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday announced he will nominate Denis McDonough — who served as chief of staff for former President Barack Obama — to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs.

The big picture: McDonough is the latest former Obama team member Biden has picked for his cabinet and follows his selection of Susan Rice to head the Domestic Policy Council. She previously served as national security adviser and UN ambassador during Obama's presidency.

  • Biden also nominated former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack on Thursday as his secretary of Agriculture, a position he held during Obama's administration.
  • Other picks rolled out on Thursday include Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) for secretary of Housing and Urban Development and top congressional trade lawyer Katherine Tai for U.S. Trade Representative.

What he's saying: "McDonough knows the ins and outs of government, and if confirmed, he will pull every lever to deliver results for veterans and their families," Biden's press release says.

Worth noting: Prior to McDonough's position as Obama's chief of staff from 2013 to 2017, he was Obama’s deputy national security adviser, "including during the Navy SEAL raid in 2011 that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden," AP writes.

Go deeper

Jan 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to elevate top White House science post to Cabinet level

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Friday that he will make the top White House science post a Cabinet-level position for the first time in U.S. history.

The big picture: Biden said he has picked Eric Lander to be his presidential science adviser and he will nominate the geneticist as the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Biden also announced other key members of his science team, including Francis Collins, who will stay on as director of the National Institutes of Health.

47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.