By LIBBY CATHEY, KENNEDEY BELL, LAUREN KING and ADIA ROBINSON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in three days.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach Trump on an article for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — making him the only president to be impeached twice.
Here is how the scene is unfolding. All times Eastern:
Jan 17, 5:17 am
Airbnb looking at possibly canceling reservations in Lansing before protests at Michigan Capitol
Online vacation rental marketplace Airbnb is reviewing, and potentially canceling, reservations in Lansing, Michigan, ahead of planned protests at the Michigan Capitol building.
“If we confirm that guests are associated with a violent hate group or otherwise not allowed on our platform for violating certain community policies prohibiting violence or engaging in criminal activity, we will cancel those reservations and ban them from Airbnb,” a company spokesperson said. “We are in contact with Governor Whitmer’s team, Mayor Schor and Chief Daryl Green about this plan, and if appropriate, we may bring information to the attention of local law enforcement.”
Airbnb’s efforts in Lansing are similar to its efforts in Washington, D.C. as the company seeks to identify people who have used their site and may pose a risk of violence ahead of planned protests.
“Downtown [Lansing] is a vibrant neighborhood and residents and businesses there should feel confident knowing that the Lansing Police Department is working closely with the Michigan State Police, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department and other police agencies to ensure these planned events remain peaceful,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “Airbnb has always been a fantastic partner with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and this effort continues to demonstrate their civic mindedness and high standards of quality.”
Residents of downtown Lansing should stay inside and avoid demonstrations, said Schor.
Jan 16, 10:02 pm
Kamala Harris kicks off week of inauguration events
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris kicked off the first night of inaugural events with closing remarks on Saturday during an event titled “America United: An Inauguration Welcome Event Celebrating America’s Changemakers.”
Harris noted the work that supporters did to make this moment what it is despite challenges due to coronavirus.
“I’m so excited to officially welcome you to the 59th presidential inauguration,” Harris said. “We are here not only to celebrate and mark the start of a new administration, but to honor the work you have done from the primaries to the general election, right up to this very moment — from Zoom grassroots fundraisers to union meetings on Google Meet to our drive-in rallies — you were there every step of the way. And on the eve of this inauguration, the president-elect and I thank you for all you have done for our country; we would not be here without you.”
Harris shared a message to young Americans to keep fighting and to dream with ambition. She noted that fighting for working people, rooting out systemic racism and combating the climate crisis, while strengthening democracy, are key goals for the administration.
“And I also would not be here without the generations of Americans who struggled and sacrificed to open up opportunity in our country. I stand on their shoulders. And as I’ve said before, while I may be the first woman to serve as vice president, I will not be the last,” she said.
-ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson
Jan 16, 6:52 pm
Pence urges new administration to ‘stay the course’
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the incoming Biden-Harris administration during a speech at the Lemoore Naval Air Station in Fresno, California, Saturday.
“As a new American administration prepares to take office, we do well to remember as Americans that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and that a free and open Indo-Pacific is essential to our prosperity, our security, and the vitality of freedom in the world,” Pence said during his remarks to sailors.
Pence urged the incoming administration to “stay the course” in the region.
“Do what we’ve done,” he said. “Stand up to Chinese aggression and trade abuses. Stand strong for a free and open Indo-Pacific and put America and our freedom-loving allies first.”
The Trump administration identified China as the greatest long-term threat to the U.S. The Asian nation has shown more assertiveness in the region, including expanding its military presence in the South China Sea.
Biden has said he may keep some of Trump’s tariffs in place and expand human rights sanctions, but he’s also expected to take a different tact than Trump’s “America First” strategy.
-ABC News’ Conor Finnegan contributed to this report
Jan 16, 10:43 pm
Incoming White House chief of staff gives overview of Biden’s first 10 days
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain gave an overview of the first 10 days of the Biden-Harris administration in a memo to senior staff Saturday shared with reporters.
“President-elect Biden is assuming the presidency in a moment of profound crisis for our nation. We face four overlapping and compounding crises: the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis. All of these crises demand urgent action,” Klain wrote. “In his first 10 days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world.”
The schedule is not comprehensive, Klain noted, but includes:
Jan. 20: Biden plans to ask the Department of Education to extend the pause on student loan payments and interest for Americans with federal student loans, rejoin the Paris Agreement, reverse the “Muslim Ban” (one of Trump’s earliest executive orders upon taking office) and issue a mask mandate for federal property and inter-state travel. He will also “take action to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures and provide more than 25 million Americans greater stability.”
Jan. 21: Biden plans to sign several executive actions “to move aggressively to change the course of the COVID-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses, including by taking action to mitigate spread through expanding testing, protecting workers, and establishing clear public health standards.”
Jan. 22: The president-elect will direct his Cabinet agencies “to take immediate action to deliver economic relief to working families” impacted by the pandemic.
Jan. 25-Feb. 1: Among other executive actions, memoranda and Cabinet directives, Biden plans to sign additional executive actions to address the climate crisis, as well as take steps to “strengthen Buy American provisions,” reform the criminal justice system, expand health care access and “start the difficult but critical work of reuniting families separated at the border.”
“Full achievement of the Biden-Harris Administration’s policy objectives requires not just the executive actions the president-elect has promised to take, but also robust Congressional action,” Klain wrote.
-ABC News’ John Verhovek
Jan 16, 3:53 pm
House Dems open investigation into Capitol attack
House Democrats have opened an investigation into what law enforcement and the intelligence community knew about threats to the Capitol ahead of the Jan. 6 siege.
The investigation from the House Intelligence, Oversight, Homeland Security and Judiciary committees will also examine whether anyone with security clearances — current or former National Security, Defense, Justice or Homeland Security officials — participated in the riot.
The investigation will also examine the federal law enforcement response in the aftermath of the attack.
“The Committees will conduct robust oversight to understand what warning signs may have been missed, determine whether there were systemic failures, and consider how to best address countering domestic violent extremism, including remedying any gaps in legislation or policy,” committee members wrote in a letter to the FBI, DHS and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“This still-emerging story is one of astounding bravery by some U.S. Capitol Police and other officers; of staggering treachery by violent criminals; and of apparent and high-level failures — in particular, with respect to intelligence and security preparedness,” the letter later stated.
Democrats plan to request documents and briefings from administration officials as part of the investigation — just one of several looking into the Capitol attack.
-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel
Jan 16, 3:51 pm
Harris to be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor at inauguration
When Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes the oath of office at Wednesday’s inauguration, the magnitude of her historic election will be marked not only in her remarks but in the details.
The vice president-elect will be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, another historic female first. Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.
Harris, according to a source with knowledge, told ABC News that the vice president-elect was inspired by Justice Sotomayor’s background. The pair both previously served as former prosecutors — Harris in California, Sotomayor in New York.
During her victory speech, Harris weaved in an adage from her mother, Shymala Gopalan Harris, who often told her she would be the first to do many things, but urged her to open doors for others.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” said Harris.
-ABC News’ Averi Harper and Beatrice Peterson
Jan 16, 3:28 pm
Harris stresses importance of ‘following the science’
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Saturday echoed Biden’s message on listening to science as the country faces challenges such as the pandemic and climate change.
“The importance of … following the science, of listening to the scientists, is clear everywhere we look — from a pandemic that has taken such a devastating toll, partly because our nation’s leaders did not listen to the scientists from the start, to raging wildfires, record-breaking storms and a climate crisis that scientists agree is caused by human beings,” Harris said during a press briefing on the administration’s science team.
The administration will additionally invest in STEM education “and the next generation of scientists, including women scientists and scientists of color,” she said.
Harris also spoke about her personal connection to research as the daughter of a cancer researcher, and she encouraged the next generation of scientists.
“I have a message for all the little girls and boys out there who dream of growing up to be a superhero,” she said. “Superheroes aren’t just about our imagination. They are walking among us. They are teachers and doctors and scientists.”
“And you can grow up to be like them, too, so let’s dream big, lead with conviction, and see ourselves, each one us, as the superheroes of tomorrow,” she added.
-ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson, Molly Nagle and John Verhovek
Jan 16, 3:14 pm
Maria Zuber to serve on 4th White House administration
In addition to Frances Arnold, Maria Zuber will co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
This will be her fourth time serving in a White House administration.
“I look forward to continuing to advocate for science and a nonpartisan manner in this new role,” said Zuber, who is Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s vice president for research and E. A. Griswold professor of geophysics. “I am thrilled with the challenge and the opportunity to work together with the scientific leadership of this administration to restore trust in science and pursue breakthroughs that benefit all people.”
Zuber said that the work is critical “as the pandemic continues to rage.”
Beyond the pandemic, she highlighted other areas of focus for the team, including the “transition to a zero-carbon energy system, our need to create good-paying jobs of the future and other aspects of our existential fight against climate change.”
Zuber grew up in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, which she described as once being coal country. Both of her grandparents mined and died of black lung, she said, while noting that communities like hers still haven’t recovered long after mining jobs have left.
“I could not be more excited for the efforts of this administration to deploy science to help breathe new life into these places, into so many communities large and small that are hurting today,” she said. “Bold scientific leadership will be a critical component of building back better, guarding our health and safety, helping spark new, clean industries, and keeping America competitive in the race for those well-paying jobs of the future.”
Zuber was the first woman to lead a NASA spacecraft mission and the first woman to lead a science department at MIT.
In 2004, former President George W. Bush appointed her to the Presidential Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. In 2013, former President Barack Obama appointed her to the National Science Board, and President Trump reappointed her in 2018.
Jan 16, 3:08 pm
Francis Arnold to co-chair President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
During remarks on Saturday, Biden introduced Francis Arnold as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and part of the first all-women team to lead the council. Arnold is the first woman in American history to receive a Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is currently the Linus Pauling professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering, and biochemistry and director of the Rosen Bioengineering Center at the California Institute of Technology. Arnold has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Known for her contributions to renewable energy, Arnold co-founded three biotechnology companies in sustainable chemistry and agriculture.
“My belief has grown that our highest responsibility in each generation is to preserve our fragile planet, prepare our economy and our workforce for the future and pass on a better world,” Arnold said in her remarks Saturday.
“When we put science back to work for the benefit of all people, revitalizing our economy, fueling our climate response, broadening our perspective as we rebuild around greater equity and opportunity, we are making a society that is worth passing on to our children and our grandchildren. It is an act of love. I am honored by the opportunity to help nurture this effort,” Arnold said.
Jan 16, 2:39 pm
Alondra Nelson says she will focus on science and tech that ‘reflects us all’
As deputy director for science and society for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Alondra Nelson said she wants to promote scientific research that is “honest and inclusive.”
“As a Black woman researcher, I am keenly aware of those who are missing from these rooms,” Nelson said Saturday during a press briefing introducing key members of the Biden administration’s science team. “I believe we have a responsibility to work together to make sure that our science and technology reflects us and when it does, that it reflects all of us. That it reflects who we are together.”
Nelson, president of the Social Science Research Council and a Princeton University professor, is known for her research at the intersection of science, politics and social inequality.
“There has never been a more important moment for scientific development — to get scientific development right or to situate that development in our values of equality, accountability, justice, and trustworthiness,” Nelson said.
Jan 16, 2:35 pm
Biden’s presidential science adviser will be elevated to a cabinet-level position
Eric Lander is Biden’s nominee for presidential science adviser, a position Biden announced Saturday he is elevating to a Cabinet-level position for the first time in U.S. history.
Lander served as the co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) during the Obama-Biden administration. He currently serves as president and the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Landon is also one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project.
“It’s not hyperbole to suggest that Dr. Lander’s work has changed the course of human history. His role in helping us map the genome, pull back the curtain on human disease, allowing scientists ever since and for generations to come to explore the molecular basis for some of the most devastating illnesses affecting our world,” Biden said.
In his remarks Saturday, Lander said, “The President-Elect knows that science and technology will be crucial in meeting this moment,” adding that “America’s greatest asset, I think, is our unrivaled diversity. After all, scientific progress is about seeing something that no one’s ever seen before. Because they bring a different lens, different experiences, different questions, different passions. No one can top America in that regard. But we have to ensure that everyone not only has a seat at the table, but a place at the lab bench.”
Jan 16, 2:23 pm
Biden administration will ‘lead with science and truth’
Addressing the coronavirus pandemic, confronting the climate crisis and building public trust in science and technology will be among the Biden administration’s key areas of focus, the president-elect said during a press briefing introducing four key members of his science team.
Building back the economy “to ensure prosperity is fully shared all across America” and ensuring the U.S. “leads the world in technologies and industries that the future” will also be a focus, Biden said Saturday during an address in Wilmington, Delaware.
Helping lead those initiatives will be Eric Lander, the presidential science advisor-designate, a position that for the first time will be a cabinet rank, Biden noted.
“I’ve always said that the Biden-Harris administration will lead with science and truth,” Biden said. “We believe in both. This is how we’re going to, God willing, overcome the pandemic and build our country back better than it was before. That’s why for the first time in history, I’m going to be elevating the presidential science advisor to a Cabinet rank, because we think it’s that important.”
Frances Arnold and Maria Zuber will be at the helm of the first all-women team to lead the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Alondra Nelson will also be deputy director for science and society for the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Dr. Francis Collins, who was not present at the event, will also continue in his role as director of the National Institutes of Health. Biden thanked him for “being willing to stay on,” saying that it wasn’t his original plan.
“I’ve known Dr. Collins for many years. I worked with him closely,” Biden said, accling him “brilliant, a pioneer, a true leader.”
“This is the most exciting announcement that I have gotten to make in the entire Cabinet,” Biden said of his picks. “These are among the brightest, most dedicated people, not only in the country but the world.”
Jan 16, 1:14 pm
Mike Lindell’s meeting with Trump
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell on Friday was pictured outside of the Oval Office with a document appearing to detail drastic actions just days away from Biden’s inauguration. The pillow inventor, who previously called for “martial law” in a now-deleted tweet, confirmed to ABC News that he met with Trump and presented him with a separate document filled with theories regarding election hacking.
The theories are related to repeatedly discredited claims that Trump had actually won the election.
The photograph went viral on Twitter after users speculated the document showed mentions of “martial law” and the “insurrection act.”
White House sources stressed that nothing Lindell presented was taken seriously nor would it be acted upon by administration officials.
In an interview with ABC News, Lindell, a fierce supporter of the president, said his meeting with Trump was brief (“it was real fast”) and said White House lawyers who reviewed the documents after his meeting with the president seemed “disengaged” and “disinterested,” which he said was “disturbing.”
“There was no mention of martial law,” Lindell said regarding the document photographed by the Washington Post, which he claims comes from one of the attorneys he said he has hired to investigate election fraud but would not identify to ABC News.
Another section of the notes appears to read, “Move Kash Patel to CIA Acting” and “Make clear this is China/Iran.” Much of the notes are not visible in the photo.
When asked if he read that document, Lindell told ABC News, “I glanced at it.”
“I’m going to be honest. I read that — I don’t know the names. I don’t understand half the stuff on there,” Lindell said. “…I don’t know the names on there. I think there were suggestions on who to move.”
Lindell said the photographed document was just a part of the bigger packet he had brought to the White House, and that his main intention was to show the president an article that alleges multiple foreign countries hacked the 2020 U.S. election. He said during the brief time he had with the president, he spoke to him about this article.
-ABC News’ Will Steakin, Soorin Kim and John Santucci
Jan 16, 12:15 pm
Biden to introduce picks for White House science team
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will introduce key picks for their science team in Wilmington, Delaware, Saturday afternoon.
The picks are:
-Eric Lander: Nominee for director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and presidential science advisor-designate.
-Alondra Nelson: OSTP deputy director for science and society
-Frances H. Arnold: Co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
-Maria Zuber: Co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
In a press release, the Biden transition team said the picks will help the Biden-Harris administration “confront some of the biggest crises and challenges of our time, from climate change and the impact of technology on society to pandemics, racial inequity, and the current historic economic downturn.”
Jan 16, 10:36 am
Biden announces 5 key nominations at State Department
Biden has announced a new slate of nominations and staff at the Department of State. Many of the picks have ties to both Biden and former President Barack Obama.
The picks are:
-Wendy R. Sherman: Deputy secretary of state
-Brian P. McKeon: Deputy secretary for management and resources
-Bonnie Jenkins: Under secretary for arms control and international security affairs
-Victoria Nuland: Under secretary for political affairs
-Uzra Zeya: Under secretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights
In a statement, the Biden transition team said these key nominations will help “build back better at the State Department, renew and reimagine American leadership to keep us safe at home and abroad, and address the defining challenges of our time — from infectious disease, to terrorism, China, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, and climate change. They will put into practice the President-elect and Secretary-designate’s vision of a foreign policy that promotes America’s security, prosperity, and values, and delivers for the middle class.”
-ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson
Jan 15, 11:23 pm
Alex Azar refutes resignation, but criticizes Trump rhetoric
Late Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar refuted several media reports that he was resigning early, but did share his resignation letter — effective Jan. 20 at noon — on Twitter.
While Azar wrote on Twitter that it was his “duty to help ensure a smooth transition to President-elect Biden’s team during the pandemic” through Inauguration Day, he did criticize President Donald Trump and called on him to more strongly condemn the violence at the Capitol last week.
“Unfortunately, the actions and rhetoric following the election, especially during this past week, threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this Administration,” Azar wrote in the resignation letter. “The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States of America first brought to the world. I implore you to continue to condemn unequivocally any form of violence, to demand that no one attempt to disrupt the inaugural activities in Washington or elsewhere, and to continue to support unreservedly the peaceful and orderly transition of power on January 20, 2021.”
Azar clarified he handed in the letter, dated Jan. 12, last week “along with every other political appointee.”
The two-page letter, in which he calls serving as HHS secretary “the greatest professional privilege and honor of my life,” details the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Azar paints an entirely rosy picture, referring to it as a “remarkable response,” despite skyrocketing deaths and case rates across most of the nation.
“While we mourn every lost life, our early, aggressive, and comprehensive efforts saved hundreds of thousands or even millions of American lives,” he wrote, echoing a refrain from the president. There have been over 391,000 deaths in the U.S., nearly twice the number of the second-highest country (208,000 in Brazil).
He also highlighted the agency’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis, electronic cigarettes and the HIV epidemic, and made special mention of “protect[ing] the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”
Azar has served as HHS secretary since January 2018. President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, to serve as his HHS chief.
ABC News’ Ben Siu contributed to this report.
Jan 15, 6:46 pm
Barry Berke, veteran of Trump’s 1st impeachment, to be House Dems’ top lawyer for 2nd trial
Barry Berke, the veteran New York defense lawyer who helped House Democrats argue President Donald Trump’s first impeachment last year, will rejoin the House Judiciary Committee as the panel’s lead impeachment lawyer for Trump’s second trial, the panel announced Friday.
Berke will serve as chief impeachment counsel, supported by a team of attorneys from the House Judiciary and Oversight committees who helped Democrats make their case to the Senate last year that Trump abused his office by trying to pressure Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on then-candidate Joe Biden.
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., unveiled a team of nine new impeachment managers to make the case that Trump should be convicted of inciting the Capitol Hill riot that left five people dead, the presence of Berke and the rest of the legal team underscores the unique position House Democrats are in: For the first time in American history, they will have a team of lawyers behind them with experience arguing in a Senate impeachment trial.
Democrats could transmit the impeachment article to the Senate as early as next week, which could trigger the start of proceedings following Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
There has been no official announcement on who will represent Trump in the trial, but personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz, who took part in the last trial, may be on the team, sources told ABC News. Trump favorite John Eastman, who led a failed election challenge to the Supreme Court, could also join the team.
-ABC News’ Katherine Faulders and Benjamin Siegel
Jan 15, 5:35 pm
Biden says he feels safe for inauguration
As law enforcement agencies prepare for Wednesday’s inauguration, Biden told reporters he feels safe about the upcoming ceremony.
When asked at the end of a briefing on his vaccination plan Friday if he felt safe about Inauguration Day based on the intelligence he’s seen, the president-elect simply, loudly and clearly said “Yes” before exiting the room.
The FBI, DHS, Secret Service and U.S. Capitol Police, along with several local law enforcement agencies, have issued an extensive “threat assessment” surrounding Wednesday’s inauguration.
There also will be 25,000 National Guardsmen in the nation’s capital to aid with security that day, ABC News has learned.
-ABC News’ Molly Nagle
Jan 15, 4:40 pm
Kentucky State Capitol grounds to close Sunday
The Kentucky State Capitol grounds will be closed on Sunday, amid reports of threats against state capitols in the coming days, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday.
“Our commitment is that what happened at the U.S. Capitol will not happen here,” Beshear said in a statement.
There will be an increased law enforcement presence at the state Capitol for the next several days, including support from the Kentucky National Guard, and areas near the Capitol will be closed on Sunday, the governor said.
There are no gatherings or rallies planned in the coming days, he noted.
Jan 15, 4:24 pm
Biden announces 5-point vaccination plan
Biden outlined a five-point vaccination plan Friday to ramp up rollout when he takes office.
On day one, he said he plans to instruct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start opening the first of thousands of federally supported community vaccination centers across the nation. By the end of his first month in office, 100 of these centers will be open, Biden said, at places that are “convenient and accessible,” such as school gymnasiums, community centers and sports stadiums.
“As we build them, we’re going to make sure it’s done equitably,” Biden said. “We’re going to make sure there are vaccination sites in areas hit harder by the pandemic, in Black and Hispanic communities as well.”
Within the first month, his administration also plans to promote mobile vaccination clinics “to hard-hit and hard-to-reach communities in cities, small towns and in rural communities,” he said.
Thirdly, the administration plans to “fully activate the pharmacies across the country to get the vaccination into more arms as quickly as possible,” Biden said. This will include working with both independent and chain pharmacies to help people more easily make appointments, he said.
The fourth point of the plan involves ramping up vaccine supply through the Defense Production Act, Biden said.
“We’ll use the Defense Protection Act to work with private industry to accelerate the making of materials needed to supply and administer the vaccine, from tubes and syringes to protective equipment,” Biden said.
Lastly, Biden promised transparency on vaccine supply.
“We’re going to make sure state and local officials know how much supply they’ll be getting and when they can expect to get it so they can plan,” he said. “Right now, we’re hearing that they can’t plan, because they don’t know how much supply of vaccines they can expect at what time frame.”
Biden stressed that his administration is not changing the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended dosing schedules.
“We believe it’s critical that everyone should get two doses within the FDA-recommended time frame. So we’re not doing away with that availability,” he said.
Jan 15, 3:52 pm
Top White House science team members announced
Ahead of planned remarks Friday afternoon on his vaccination program, Biden released the names of top members of his White House science team.
Dr. Francis Collins will continue in his role as director of the National Institutes of Health, Biden announced.
Biden also wrote a letter to Dr. Eric Lander, the presidential science advisor-designate and nominee for director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), tasking him to “work broadly and transparently with the diverse scientific leadership of American society.”
Here are all the positions announced Friday by the Biden team:
-Dr. Eric Lander will be nominated as director of the OSTP and serve as the presidential science advisor.
-Dr. Alondra Nelson will serve as OSTP deputy director for science and society.
-Dr. Frances H. Arnold and Dr. Maria Zuber will serve as the external co-chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
-Dr. Francis Collins will continue serving in his role as director of the National Institutes of Health.
-Kei Koizumi will serve as OSTP chief of staff and is one of the nation’s leading experts on the federal science budget.
-Narda Jones will serve as OSTP legislative affairs director.
-ABC News’ John Verhovek
Jan 15, 3:52 pm
Buttigieg’s nomination hearing expected next week
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is expected to hold Pete Buttigieg’s nomination hearing for transportation secretary on Thursday at 10 a.m.
This is the sixth Cabinet-level nomination hearing to be noticed. Others expected for next week: Avril Haines to serve as director of national intelligence, Janet Yellen to serve as treasury secretary, Tony Blinken to serve as secretary of state, Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of defense, and Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Department of Homeland Security secretary.
Jan 15, 3:05 pm
Avril Haines nomination hearing scheduled for Tuesday
The nomination hearing for Avril Haines, Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence, is now scheduled for Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced. The hearing is slated to start at 10 a.m. ET.
It was originally scheduled for Friday but was then postponed.
Jan 15, 2:48 pm
Army says there will be 25,000 National Guardsman in DC for inauguration
A spokesperson for the U.S. Army confirmed that there will be 25,000 National Guardsmen in the nation’s capital to aid with security for Biden’s inauguration.
“The Defense Department has agreed to provide up to 25,000 service members to support the Presidential Inauguration National Special Security Event federal law enforcement mission and security preparations, as led by the U.S. Secret Service,” the spokesperson said. “The Department of the Army and the National Guard Bureau are working on a sourcing solution now to support this request.”
-ABC News’ Luis Martinez
Jan 15, 2:00 pm
Officials issue wide-ranging ‘threat assessment’ ahead of Biden’s inauguration
The FBI, DHS, Secret Service and U.S. Capitol Police, along with several local law enforcement agencies, have issued an extensive “threat assessment” surrounding Wednesday’s inauguration.
It covers a range of threats surrounding the inauguration, including not only physical threats from domestic terrorists but also influence campaigns from Russia, China and Iran stemming from the Capitol siege. It even covers physical threats from drones.
The memo says domestic extremists is the “most likely” threat to the inauguration, citing recent incidents of ideologically motivated violence, including the deadly mob at the U.S. Capitol building.
Regarding foreign concerns, the assessment said that since the incident at the Capitol, “Russian, Iranian, and Chinese influence actors have seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition.”
“We have not identified any specific, credible information indicating that these actors intend to explicitly commit violence,” it added. “Furthermore, we have not identified any specific, credible cyber threat to critical infrastructure supporting the upcoming Presidential Inauguration nor a specific credible cyber threat to military or law enforcement personnel supporting the event.”
The memo did say, however, that Russian state media has “amplified themes related to the violent and chaotic nature of the Capitol Hill incident, impeachment of President Trump, and social media censorship.”
Iranian state media has “continued to stoke claims that President Trump encouraged and incited the violence, as well as calls to invoke the 25th amendment,” the memo added. It has also “amplified perceived concerns related to President Trump’s mental health and the prospect of other risky actions he could take before leaving office.”
Finally, it noted that Chinese media has “seized the story to denigrate US democratic governance — casting the United States as broadly in decline — and to justify China’s crackdown on protestors in Hong Kong.”
Lastly, the memo warned that drones could disrupt law enforcement operations at the inauguration, though it added that it does not have “specific, credible information” indicating malicious actors have plans to use unmanned aircraft systems to target the event.
-ABC News’ Mike Levine
Jan 15, 1:40 pm
Vice President Pence spoke with Vice President-elect Harris
Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on a call Thursday, sources familiar with the call told ABC News.
The news was first reported by the New York Times.
Jan 15, 1:36 pm
How Trump plans to leave the White House
Sources told ABC News that Trump has requested a large sendoff hours before President-elect Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday.
Sources say Trump plans to depart the White House next Wednesday morning, choppering via Marine One to Joint Base Andrews where he is expected to give remarks to supporters and departing members of his administration.
Sources add that Trump has requested the event to have a “military-like feel” though details are still not finalized. The president will then fly down to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida onboard Air Force One with a small number of staffers who will be part of his post-presidency operation, according to the sources.
Jan 15, 1:30 pm
DC mayor says National Mall will be temporarily closed for Biden’s inauguration
During a news conference Friday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the National Mall is temporarily closed to the public through at least Thursday.
Thirteen metro stations inside the security perimeter will also be closed.
Bowser said the National Mall closure came at the request of and in cooperation with the Secret Service and the National Park Service.
The mayor urged Americans to enjoy the inauguration virtually from home this year.
She also discussed the city’s beefed-up security ahead of the inauguration but told D.C. residents she doesn’t expect the security measures currently in place to last too long after Biden takes office.
Jan 15, 12:55 pm
Nomination hearing for Avril Haines postponed
The nomination hearing for Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, has been postponed. It was originally scheduled for Friday.
A joint statement from Senate Intelligence Committee Acting Chairman Marco Rubio and Vice Chairman Mark Warner on Thursday confirmed the postponement. It did not give specific reasons, but referenced the “unusual circumstances on Capitol Hill.”
Rubio and Warner added that they “look forward to holding a hearing next week” for Haines, but did not list a specific date.
Jan 15, 12:49 pm
Extremism seen on Jan. 6 ‘very likely part of an ongoing trend’
Far from a one-off event, the Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol emboldened extremists and “is very likely part of an ongoing trend,” according to a joint intelligence bulletin obtained by ABC News.
The trend involves domestic extremists exploiting lawful gatherings to engage in violence and criminal activity and the bulletin said that “very likely will increase throughout 2021.”
Targets include racial, ethnic and religious minorities along with journalists and government officials.
“Narratives surrounding the perceived success of the 6 January breach of the US Capitol, and the proliferation of conspiracy theories will likely lead to an increased [domestic violent extremist] threat towards representatives of federal, state, and local governments across the United States, particularly in the lead-in to the 20 January Presidential Inauguration,” the bulletin said.
Beyond the inauguration, the bulletin said gun control legislation, the easing of immigration restrictions and limits on the use of public land could antagonize extremists.
There is a range of groups that share what the bulletin called the “false narrative of a stolen election.”
“In-person engagement between domestic violent extremists of differing ideological goals during the Capitol breach likely served to foster connections, which may increase DVEs’ willingness, capability, and motivation to attack and undermine a government they view as illegitimate,” the bulletin said.
Jan 15, 12:43 pm
Incoming WH press secretary reveals some details of Biden’s vaccine push
In a series of tweets Friday, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki provided some information on the structure of the Biden administration’s vaccination effort and confirmed that the program will not go by the “Operation Warp Speed” name created by the Trump administration.
Psaki also said that Bechara Choucair, previously announced as the Biden team’s vaccination coordinator, will lead the 100 million doses delivered in 100 days effort, while Dr. David Kessler’s role will focus on maximizing the current supply of vaccine and to get more online as quickly as possible.
Jan 15, 12:17 pm
Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen and John Legend to perform at Biden’s inauguration event
Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, the Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen have joined the growing list of celebrities who will appear at the star-studded event celebrating Biden’s inauguration next week.
The event, hosted by Tom Hanks, will be a primetime television special that will air the night after the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20.
Longoria and Washington “will introduce segments throughout the night ranging from stories of young people making a difference in their communities to musical performances,” Biden’s inaugural committee said in a statement Friday.
Meanwhile, the Foo Fighters, Springsteen and Legend will perform remotely “from iconic locations across the country, joining Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons and Jon Bon Jovi with additional performances to be announced ahead of January 20,” the committee said.
The committee had previously announced that Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem while Biden and Harris are sworn in. Jennifer Lopez will also give a musical performance.
Jan 15, 12:06 pm
Pelosi says managers are ‘preparing’ for Trump’s impeachment trial
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday that “our managers are solemnly and prayerfully preparing” for Trump’s impeachment trial, “which they will take to the Senate.”
“Justice is called for as we address the active insurrection that was perpetrated against the Capitol complex last week,” Pelosi said during her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.
Pelosi did not specify when the article of impeachment will be sent to the Senate, prompting the trial. According to Senate rules, the trial would begin the day after the impeachment charge is sent over by the House of Representatives.
“You’ll be the first to know when we announce that we’re going over there,” she told reporters.
Pelosi noted how quickly the House voted to impeach the president, just one week after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which she said was “incentivised” by Trump.
“So urgent was the matter,” she told reporters.
When asked about the role members of Congress may have played in the riot, Pelosi said they would be held accountable.
“If it in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime,” she said, “there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution.”
The speaker also announced that she’s asked retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore — who helped coordinate the military relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina — to lead an “immediate review” of security failings at the Capitol, reviewing security infrastructure, the interagency process, and command and control.
At the start of Friday’s press conference, Pelosi quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
Jan 15, 11:08 am
Biden announces additions to White House staff
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have announced additional White House picks — with many familiar faces from Biden’s 2020 campaign staff.
While she was not expected to join the administration and instead return to her communication’s firm SKDKnickerbocker, Anita Dunn will be serving as a senior adviser to the president — marking yet another longtime Biden adviser and a member of the highest echelons of his campaign joining the White House in a senior role.
TJ Ducklo, the national spokesperson for the campaign, will also join the White House as deputy press secretary alongside Karine Jean-Pierre. Deputy press secretary Matt Hill will join as a senior associate communications director.
Biden’s campaign photographer and videographer will also take on similar roles in the administration.
Jan 15, 9:37 am
House committee asks hotels, travel companies to help identify ‘inciters and attackers’
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Reform has sent letters to two dozen hotels and private travel companies seeking help in identifying rioters and preventing future attacks in Washington, D.C., ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
“While the inciters and attackers bear direct responsibility for the siege on the Capitol and will be held fully accountable, they relied on a range of companies and services to get them there and house them once they arrived—companies that law-abiding Americans use every day, but whose services were hijacked to further the January 6 attacks,” committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., wrote in the letters. “Trump supporters chartered scores of buses and vans and drove in caravans to the nation’s capital. They stayed in D.C. hotels, with videos showing attackers relaxing in the lobby of one hotel after the insurrection.”
The committee has asked the businesses — ranging from major hotel chains to bus and car rental companies — to retain records of January reservations for future congressional investigations, to put in place additional screening measures “to ensure that your services are not being used to facilitate violence or domestic terrorism,” and to provide information to the committee by Jan. 29 on those measures.
Jan 15, 8:54 am
FBI warns of possible explosives at expected protests linked to inauguration
The danger to the public and to law enforcement officers from explosive devices during expected upcoming protests “is substantial,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned in a new awareness bulletin obtained by ABC News on Friday.
The document is full of photos of devices used in the last eight months against civilian and law enforcement targets during public demonstrations.
“Devices targeting infrastructure also increased following violent activity during this time period,” the bulletin states.
The FBI now wants to make first responders aware of what has been deployed in the past and what they might encounter during protests linked to the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.
“The danger posed to law enforcement officers and the general public from the all the tactics listed is substantial,” the bulletin states. “If a suspicious item is reasonably believed to contain explosives, an IED, or other hazardous material, DO NOT touch, tamper with, or move the item. Only bomb disposal personal should handle any suspected devices that are located.”
An internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News earlier this week stated that armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols as well as at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, least through Inauguration Day.
The warning comes after suspected pipe bombs were found last week outside both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee headquarters, just a few blocks from the Capitol where pro-Trump rioters stormed the building.
Jan 15, 8:33 am
Biden picks former FDA head to help lead Operation Warp Speed
Biden has chosen Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to help lead the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine initiative.
Kessler, a pediatrician and lawyer who headed the FDA from 1999 to 1997 under the Bush and Clinton administrations, will replace Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is the current chief science officer to Operation Warp Speed.
Biden also announced several other appointees who will join his incoming administration’s COVID-19 response team.
“We are in a race against time, and we need a comprehensive strategy to quickly contain this virus,” the president-elect said in a statement Thursday. “The individuals announced today will bolster the White House’s COVID-19 Response team and play important roles in carrying out our rescue plan and vaccination program. At a time when American families are facing numerous challenges I know these public servants will do all that is needed to build our nation back better.”
Jan 15, 7:46 am
Biden announces pick for FEMA chief, other key administration posts
With just five days until his inauguration, Biden announced Thursday his pick to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) along with several other key posts for his incoming administration.
Deanne Criswell is his nominee for FEMA administrator. Janet McCabe is his nominee for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Shalanda Young is his nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Jason Miller is his nominee for deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. And David Cohen is his appointee for deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“These dedicated and distinguished leaders will bring the highest level of experience, integrity, and knowledge to bear on behalf of the American people,” Biden said in a statement Thursday. “Each of them brings a deep respect for the civil servants who keep our republic running, as well as a keen understanding of how the government can and should work for all Americans. I am confident that they will hit the ground running on day one with determination and bold thinking to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”
Jan 14, 10:46 pm
New California senator says he’s prepared for impeachment trial, coronavirus response
Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State and the man who will fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ seat in the Senate, told ABC News he’s prepared to balance both the impeachment trial and response to COVID-19 when he’s sworn in next week.
“We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Padilla said. “It’s not either or, COVID-19 response is absolutely important. Holding President Trump accountable is extremely important. And doing our part, as the Biden-Harris administration settles, is also extremely important. So we’re prepared to do what it takes.”
“There has to be accountability, nobody is above the law.”@AlexPadilla4CA, U.S. Senator Designate for California, joins @ABCNewsLive to discuss impeachment and the COVID-19 pandemic. https://t.co/d08otzkRdW pic.twitter.com/9j95A4SCaQ
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 15, 2021
He said he doesn’t know how the Senate will vote, but believes a “rebalanced leadership” with Democrats in the White House, Senate and House, will give the party “tremendous opportunity” to achieve their goals.
When asked whether he believes last week’s riot at the Capitol would embolden further attacks, he said, “Frankly, when I saw the images last Wednesday, it only emboldened my resolve to want to get to work, and want to get to work quickly.”
Jan 14, 10:46 pm
Va. governor ready for potential threat at state capital
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he sent 2,000 National Guardsmen and hundreds of state police to help stop the president’s supporters from rioting at the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress last week.
Now, with Biden’s inauguration just days away, he said his state is prepared to ensure a peaceful transition of power in Washington, D.C., and ready to face any other threats that might emerge after multiple recent reports of threats at capital buildings throughout the country.
“Unfortunately, we have experience here in Virginia,” Northam told ABC News’ Linsey Davis. “We had the riots in Charlottesville back in August 2017, and then we had a lot of armed protesters in January (2020), and so, we have some experience.”
“Words have meaning, and our leaders need to be very careful with how they message to those that support them.”@GovernorVA Ralph Northam joins @ABCNewsLive to discuss security precautions Virginia is taking following U.S. Capitol siege. https://t.co/d08otzkRdW pic.twitter.com/M9FRYQlRse
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 15, 2021
With fences posted around the state’s capital building and windows boarded up, Northam said it’s “an unfortunate situation, but we’ve made it known to these individuals that if they come here looking for trouble, that we’re ready and the outcome is not going to be good for them.”
Northam said that the riot at the Capitol has also impacted his state’s ability to vaccinate people for the coronavirus.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re having to use the resources that we are (using),” he said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic. … The Guardsmen, they’ve been very involved with our testing and now our vaccination program. We’d like to have them doing that, but instead, we have a president that has incited violence and we need to protect the country.”
Jan 14, 8:42 pm
Biden outlines major points of recovery plan during his address
Biden outlined the major points of his rescue plan: a $1.9 trillion proposal that includes a nationwide vaccination program, $1,400 checks for individuals, an extension and expansion of unemployment benefits and help for struggling communities and businesses.
Biden placed particular emphasis on housing and food insecurity and spoke about expanding SNAP benefits. He said his policy plan would extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium, potentially previewing an executive action we could see next week. He also asked Congress to appropriate funds for rental assistance.
Biden, who preached bipartisanship while on the trail, said both he and Vice President-elect Harris had spoken with officials, mayors, and governors of both parties on a regular basis to address the problems across the country.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 15, 2021
The president-elect also emphasized his plan’s focus on helping small businesses and minority-owned businesses in particular, criticizing the Trump administration’s initial approach which he said favored the wealthy and well-connected.
“Last week, I laid out how we’ll make sure that our emergency small business relief is distributed swiftly and equitably, unlike the first time around. We’re going to focus on small businesses, on Main Street. We’ll focus on minority-owned small businesses, women-owned small businesses, and finally having equal access to the resources they need to reopen and to rebuild,” Biden said.
He also pushed his plan for a mandatory federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.
“People tell me that’s going to be hard to pass. Florida just passed it, as divided as that state is, they just passed it. The rest of the country is ready to move as well,” he said. “No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line. And that’s what it means. If you work for less than $15 an hour and work 40 hours a week, you’re living in poverty.”
President-elect Biden: “The very health of our nation is at stake… We will finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in cash relief to people who need it the most.” https://t.co/s8IAVd0H4U pic.twitter.com/CEQPOjxYgy
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 15, 2021
He frankly noted the “bold, practical” policy he was putting forward did not come cheap but argued there was no option to act.
“I know what I just described does not come cheaply. But failure to do so will cost us dearly,” he said. “The consensus among leading economists is we simply cannot afford not to do what I’m proposing.”
Biden ended his remarks with a call for unity and optimism, referencing his inauguration on Wednesday as a “new chapter for the country.”
Jan 14, 8:38 pm
Biden announces joint session of Congress next month
During his address Thursday, Biden announced his first joint session of Congress will take place next month, where he will address the second pillar of his recovery plan, focused on investments in infrastructure.
The president-elect praised Congress for working across the aisle to pass a COVID-19 relief bill in December, but reiterated his message that the package by itself was only a “down payment.” He said more is required, framing his policy proposal as the next step and urging lawmakers to push forward.
After blasting the current administration’s vaccine distribution plan as a “dismal failure,” Biden previewed his remarks Friday, where he plans on laying out his vaccination plan.
“We’ll have to move heaven and Earth to get more people vaccinated, to create more places for them to get vaccinated, to mobilize more medical teams to get shots in people’s arms, to increase vaccine supply and to get it out the door as fast as possible,” he said.
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