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Joe Biden told Stephen Colbert on CBS' "The Late Show" on Thursday that he still doesn't know who he will pick as his running mate, but acknowledged that a "very invasive process" of vetting is now underway.

The big picture: Biden told Colbert that his campaign already reached out to "a preliminary list of people" — and a team of lawyers will begin examining "every vote they've taken ... everything from their financial statements to their health circumstances."

  • But he said that he still doesn't know who it'll ultimately be: "I honest to God don't know who. I promise you right now."
  • The former vice president committed earlier this year to selecting a woman as his running mate.

Asked if he will investigate the Trump administration as president, Biden said, "I will appoint an inspector general to take a look at where every single dollar in the stimulus package and whatever recovery occurs, if it does, between now and January. ... I think there’s too many cozy relationships out there.”

  • "In terms of having the Justice Department go look at an individual or whatever, the Justice Department is not my lawyer. This Justice Department has turned into the president’s private lawyer. He is, or she is, the people’s lawyer — the people’s lawyer — not answerable to the president saying, 'I want you to investigate so-and-so.'"
  • "There hasn’t been a public expression from the top of that grief, which helps guide the country’s soul in times of crisis like this. And it’s not just for the irreparable loss of lives but the economic loss, the insecurity, worry about the future, the loss of a normal national state."

Go deeper: Joe Biden's secret governing plan

Go deeper

Aug 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

What's next for Joe Biden after Democratic National Convention

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios; Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s calculation is clear: he wants to scare the hell out of America about four more years of President Trump and keep the camera, focus and media trained on his opponent, not himself.

Why it matters: Biden said this week he plans a partial return to the road after Labor Day, with targeted visits to swing states — but strictly within the guidelines of safe crowd sizes, social distancing and guidance from scientists and public health officials.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.