Joe Biden sets up presidential transition team under close adviser | Joe Biden

A close adviser to the former vice-president Joe Biden has begun forming a team to oversee the transition, should the Democratic candidate beat Donald Trump in November’s presidential election.

Ted Kaufman has recruited six people to a team that will be expanded, a person familiar with the transition team told Reuters. Several former Obama administration officials are included in the Biden team.

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

In 2016, Trump’s transition effort was led by the former New Jersey governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie. An enemy of Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser Jared Kushner, Christie was summarily fired in what he called a political “hit job”.

The ensuing chaos of the Trump transition has been widely chronicled, not least by the Moneyball author Michael Lewis in a bestselling book, The Fifth Risk.

According to Lewis, Trump’s campaign chair, Steve Bannon, “was fucking nervous” about Trump’s handling of the transition.

“I go, ‘Holy fuck, this guy doesn’t know anything. And he doesn’t give a shit.’”

In a statement, Kaufman said the Biden team would “ensure continuity of government” in the event that their candidate 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”.

Roosevelt took office in 1933, with the world in the grip of the Great Depression. He won four terms and died in 1945, shortly before victory was secured in the second world war.

Kaufman, who filled the US Senate seat for Delaware when Biden became vice-president to Barack Obama 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 will be independent of Biden’s presidential campaign.

Recruits also include the former CIA deputy director Avril Haines, another Obama administration veteran.

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