Trump impeachment affects Biden policy, confirmation priorities

January 12, 2021: Joe Biden is considering procedural options to balance a potential impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and his policy priorities.

Prior to taking office on January 20, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden (D) and his team must prepare for the transition between presidential administrations, including selecting senior White House staff and appointees to top government positions.

In 2020, there were 1,472 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,118 positions required Senate confirmation and 354 did not. The new administration is also responsible for filling thousands of other positions across the federal government, including in operations and policy. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.


  • Politico reported that the Biden Transition was prioritizing confirmation of national security Cabinet nominees Alejandro Mayorkas, Lloyd Austin, and Antony Blinken. “Amid fallout from the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol, Biden officials and congressional allies will begin making the case Tuesday that there is a unique urgency in getting the positions filled as soon as possible so there is no gap in national security during a presidential transfer of power,” Politico said.
  • The House introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump (R) on Monday. With the possibility of a Senate trial taking place during the first 100 days of Biden’s presidential term, Biden said he was exploring whether both his policy agenda and the trial could be on the Senate schedule at the same time.
  • Bloomberg reported that the Biden Transition was considering what it would take to remove the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Mark Calabria, who was appointed in 2019 to a five-year term. It is not known whether Biden would have the authority to do so. “Any effort to oust Calabria probably wouldn’t be activated unless he starts to take drastic steps to change Fannie and Freddie’s status that the Biden administration would have difficulty reversing, such as trying to release the companies from federal control,” Bloomberg said.
  • Biden received a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 on Monday.

Transition in Context: How many cross-party Cabinet secretaries did Obama and Trump have?

President Barack Obama (D) made three cross-party Cabinet appointments in his first term in office:

  • Robert Gates for secretary of defense (who had served in the Bush administration in the same role)
  • Ray LaHood for secretary of transportation (confirmed)
  • Judd Gregg for secretary of commerce (withdrew)

President Donald Trump (R) does not have any Democrats in his Cabinet. While he selected Obama administration official David Shulkin for secretary of veterans affairs, Shulkin is not registered with any party.

Similarly, none of Biden’s Cabinet nominees is a Republican.

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