The US President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled his first cabinet picks as he prepares to take office.
If confirmed, Avril Haines would be the first female director of national intelligence and Alejandro Mayorkas the first Latino homeland security boss..
The team will help enact an agenda reflecting that “America is back, ready to lead the world”, Biden said.
The White House meanwhile cleared Mr Biden to receive a top secret intelligence brief.
Biden will be given access to the Presidential Daily Brief, the document that updates the president on details of the latest international threats and developments. The move came a day after President Donald Trump agreed the transition should start.
However, he still refuses to concede defeat. He said the General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees the handover, must “do what needs to be done”, but continues to repeat unsubstantiated claims that the November 3 election was “rigged”.
Biden can now access millions of dollars in funds, national security briefings and key government officials as he prepares to take over the presidency on 20 January.
Biden is projected to beat President Trump by 306 votes to 232 in the US Electoral College when it meets to formally confirm the winner on 14 December. This is far above the 270 votes he needs.
On Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf said he had certified the victory of Biden in Pennsylvania, one of the key swing states. Another, Michigan, certified the same outcome on Monday.
The president-elect highlighted the need to rebuild alliances, as well as tackling coronavirus and climate change. The cabinet choices he had named reflect “the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it”, suggesting a move away from the “America First” narrative of President Trump.
“We cannot meet these challenges with old thinking and unchanged habits,” he said.
Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, herself making history as the first woman in the role, appeared to refer to the previous administration when saying Mr Biden would be “guided by facts and expect our team to tell the truth no matter what”.
Many of the choices are Biden’s colleagues from the administration of President Barack Obama
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