5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • General Services Administration tells Biden transition can officially begin

  • Biden's team announces several top cabinet picks

  • Michigan certifies Biden win

  • David Dinkins, the first Black mayor of New York City, dies at 93

  • Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings to serve as 1st interim host of game show

Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, notified President-elect Joe Biden in a letter Monday that her office is prepared to start the formal presidential transition process. The transition was delayed by several weeks because Murphy would not ascertain the election, a move criticized by those who said it harmed national security and slowed down the fight against the coronavirus. Biden can now received federal funds and have access to government agencies and resources. Murphy wrote in her letter that she was "never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA." Shortly after her letter was made public, President Trump tweeted his thanks to Murphy and said he is "recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same."

Source: Donald J. Trump, The New York Times

President-elect Joe Biden's transition team announced top cabinet picks on Monday. Biden selected Alejandro Mayorkas to lead Homeland Security, Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, and former Secretary of State John Kerry as special envoy on climate. Kerry said he would help the incoming administration treat "the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is." Mayorkas worked under the Obama administration and was a lead architect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Biden also confirmed some expected nominations, including Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.N. ambassador, and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser. Biden is expected to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department.

Source: CNN, The Washington Post

Aaron Van Langevelde, a Michigan GOP canvassing board member, on Monday voted to certify the state's election results. And with that, Michigan's 16 electoral votes, as expected, will go to President-elect Joe Biden. The four-person board, which is split between Democrats and Republicans, certified the vote 3-0, with the other GOP member abstaining. Biden won Michigan by around 150,000 votes, but it wasn't clear until recently that the board would certify because of President Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the state. Langevelde put that to rest, stating "we have a clear legal duty to certify the results of the election as shown by the returns that were given to us. We cannot and should not go beyond that."

Source: Mother Jones, Politico

David Dinkins, New York City's first and only Black mayor, died Monday. He was 93. In 1989, Dinkins defeated incumbent mayor Ed Koch and future mayor Rudy Giuliani, and at the time he was elected, the city's finances were in shambles. The first few years of his term were marked by a record number of homicides and race riots. A state investigation determined that Dinkins didn't act in a timely manner to stop the racial violence, and he was narrowly defeated in 1993 by Giuliani. After leaving office, Dinkins was active in several charities and taught public affairs at Columbia University. In 2013, he published an autobiography, A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic. Dinkins' wife, Joyce, died on Oct. 11.

Source: New York Daily News

Jeopardy! announced on Monday plans to resume production on Nov. 30 with a "series of interim guest hosts from within the Jeopardy! family" following host Alex Trebek's death earlier this month. The first will be Ken Jennings, who holds the Jeopardy! record for most consecutive games won and in January won the show's "Greatest of All Time" tournament. "Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him," executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement. "We will honor Alex's legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues." Producers didn't share who any of the subsequent interim hosts after Jennings will be but said more will be revealed "in the weeks ahead." Jennings' first episode is set to air on Jan. 11.

Source: Jeopardy!