The White House is seen behind security barriers in Washington, March 24, 2019.
FILE - The White House is seen behind security barriers in Washington, March 24, 2019.

President-elect Joe Biden is adding four Obama-Biden administration veterans to his top ranks as he continues to build out his White House team.

Cathy Russell, who was Jill Biden's chief of staff during the Obama administration, will serve as director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, evaluating applicants for administration roles. Louisa Terrell, who served as a legislative adviser to the president in the Obama administration and worked as deputy chief of staff for Biden in the Senate, will be director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Terrell has already been engaged in Capitol Hill outreach as part of Biden's transition team.

FILE - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill, attends a Veterans Day observance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 11, 2020.

Carlos Elizondo, who was social secretary for Jill Biden during the Obama administration, will reprise his role and serve as social secretary for the incoming first lady. And Mala Adaga will serve as her policy director. Her role hints at what Biden may focus on as first lady — Adaga previously worked as a director for higher education and military families at the Biden Foundation, and also advised Jill Biden on policy during the Obama administration.

The announcements come just a few days after Biden unveiled his first major round of top White House staff, including the appointment of his current campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, to serve as deputy chief of staff, and campaign co-chair Rep. Cedric Richmond as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Late last week, he announced that longtime aide Ron Klain will serve as his chief of staff.

While the new hires give a sense of the White House that Biden is beginning to build, he has yet to appoint someone to fill the role of COVID coordinator, which Klain announced this week, or name individuals for key communications roles. His team has thousands more staff-level roles to fill when it takes over the administration in January, and they're currently reviewing applications and reaching out to potential candidates for key roles.

Biden has indicated he plans to make and announce some of his Cabinet picks around Thanksgiving, and he said Thursday he's already made his decision for Treasury Secretary. 
 

What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.