June 20, 2020 / 6:30 PM / 22 days ago

Biden aide begins forming U.S. presidential transition team

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden sits and talks with local residents about the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on their small businesses on the outside patio of the Carlette’s Hideaway sports bar during a campaign stop in Yeadon, Pennsylvania U.S., June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A close adviser to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has begun forming a team to oversee the transition if the Democratic presidential candidate wins November’s election and unseats President Donald Trump, according to a statement on Saturday.

Longtime Biden aide Ted Kaufman has recruited six people, including several former Obama administration officials, to an initial team that will later be expanded, a person familiar with the transition team said.

Major party nominees set up transition teams before a general election to coordinate with the incumbent administration.

In a statement, Kaufman said the work would “ensure continuity of government” in the event that Biden must prepare to take over amid the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.

“No one will have taken office facing such daunting obstacles since Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” said Kaufman, adding that Biden was ready to begin that work “the day he is sworn in as president.”

Kaufman, who filled the U.S. Senate seat for Delaware when Biden became vice president in 2009, co-authored a 2015 law that requires initial transition work to begin six months before an election.

Yohannes Abraham, who served in Barack Obama’s White House, will manage the day-to-day operation of the transition team, which is independent of Biden’s presidential campaign. Recruits also include former CIA Deputy Director Avril Haines, another Obama administration alum.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Simon Lewis; Editing by Tom Brown

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