President-elect Joe Biden enters the Christmas holiday with the vast majority of his Cabinet nominees announced, yet final deliberations continue for two of the most high-profile positions in his administration: attorney general and CIA director.
“It’s just a matter of getting to it and through it and being able to announce them,” Biden told reporters Tuesday. “We’re just working through all the efforts to do due diligence.”
His self-imposed deadline of Christmas slipped away, but aides said he is expected to announce these remaining positions by early January. They all face Senate confirmation, but he said he does not intend to allow the Georgia Senate runoff races to influence his decisions.
People familiar with the search tell CNN that Judge Merrick Garland and Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama are seen as the two most likely choices. Yet sources told CNN it is possible Biden could take a second look at former acting Attorney General Sally Yates or former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick for the role of attorney general.
In addition to attorney general, Biden also signaled his intention to nominate a broader team at the Department of Justice, which is also complicating and contributing to the timing.
“We’re looking for a team who will instill the greatest confidence in the professionals at DOJ to know once again that there is no politics, there’s no politics,” Biden told reporters Tuesday. “There’s been a great debate about in every single appointment, whether there are enough African Americans, enough Hispanics, enough Asian Pacific Americans, enough people who are new and young. So we’re just working through it. It’s not by design. There’s not an obvious choice in my mind.”
Lisa Monaco, homeland security adviser under President Barack Obama and a close adviser to Biden during his vice presidential search, is a contender to lead the CIA, as well as other top positions in the Justice Department. David Cohen, a deputy director of the CIA in the Obama administration, and Darrell Blocker, former deputy director of the agency’s counterterrorism center who also led the CIA’s training facility, are contenders to lead the CIA too.
Secretary of Commerce
Tom Steyer, a businessman and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Meg Whitman, a major GOP donor who launched an unsuccessful bid to be California’s governor and ran Hewlett-Packard and eBay, Indra Nooyi, former chairwoman of Pepsi who now sits on Amazon’s board, and Mellody Hobson, the first Black woman to chair the board of directors at Starbucks and a co-CEO of the asset management firm Ariel Investments, are among those being considered to serve as Commerce Secretary.
Secretary of Labor
Julie Su, the secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, are contenders to lead the Labor Department.
Small business administrator
Diana Taylor, who previously was New York’s superintendent of banking, and Stacie Olivares, a public pensions official for the state of California, are among those being considered to lead the Small Business Administration.