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Obama sets up transition team, signaling long exit

Obama leaves office on January 20 after November’s general election, which is likely to pit Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump

Published: Updated:

Heralding the beginning of the end of his presidency, Barack Obama signed an order Friday establishing a transition team to help ease the next administration into power.

“The peaceful transition has long been the hallmark of American democracy,” Obama wrote in an executive order that called for the transition to be “well-coordinated and effective, without regard to party affiliation.”

Obama leaves office on January 20 after November’s general election, which is likely to pit Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump.

The transition from the 44th to 45th president has already been the subject of questions about the two candidates’ trustworthiness in handling classified information.

Clinton is being investigated for allegations she stored sensitive and perhaps classified emails on an unsecured server at her home.

And Trump’s loose cannon reputation has prompted questions about what he should be told in classified briefings.

Both are set to start receiving intelligence briefings after the party conventions in July.

“The decisions about how and whether and when and what to brief to the presidential nominees is something that is a decision that will be made by our intelligence professionals,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

“They are committed to fulfilling the spirit of this bipartisan or even nonpartisan cooperation when it comes to sensitive national security issues.”

The larger team tasked with ushering in the new president will be led by Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough and will include top national security, intelligence and economics aides.