Inauguration Day 2021 news: ‘Democracy has prevailed’ says Joe Biden as he is sworn in as 46th US President – live updates

Joe Biden has become the 46th President of the United States.

Mr Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris have been sworn at the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC.

In his address, the President told the American people that “democracy has prevailed” and called for unity. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue,” he said.

Earlier, Donald Trump left the White House for the final time in his tumultuous presidency.

The 45th President spoke in Maryland, thanking supporters and promising he “will be back in some form”.

Follow the latest updates below.

Biden’s speech in full

Read every word of Biden’s historic inaugural address here.

‘We must end this uncivil war’

President Biden now calls on Americans to overcome their divisions, declaring that “without unity, there is no peace.”

In a dig at Donald Trump, Mr Biden pledges to be honest with the American public, saying that leaders have an obligation “to defend the truth and defeat the lies”.

He asks even those who did not vote for him to give him a chance. He says : “Hear me out as we move forward.”

As he did frequently during the campaign, Mr Biden pledges that he will be a “president for all Americans” and will “fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did”.

He adds: “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue”.

Soaring stuff here from Biden:

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural against urban, conservative against liberal.

“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility.”

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) January 20, 2021

Watch: Biden sworn in

Here’s the moment Joe Biden became President of the United States.

‘Don’t tell me things can’t change’

President Biden appeals to US history, saying America’s story is one of “constant struggle” between ideals and reality.

But he says Kamala Harris becoming Vice-President is proof that progress is part of the fabric of America.

“Don’t tell me things can’t change,” he says.

Watch the moment that VP Harris is sworn in:

Biden calls for ‘unity’

The new president says the US must take on white supremacy and racism, saying: “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.

“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.

“Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy.”

“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path,” says Biden. Big, big call for unity in this speech, but also basic humanity.

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) January 20, 2021

‘Democracy has prevailed’

The president immediately refers to the attack on the Capitol this month.

“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious,” Joe Biden said.

“And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

Biden going big on democracy. Framing his ascent to the presidency today not just as a personal or political win but a patriotic one. “This is democracy’s day.”

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) January 20, 2021

The 46th President of the United States

Amy Klobuchar introduces the 46th President: “Joseph. R. Biden. Junior!” He steps up to the podium and starts speaking. “This is America’s day. This is a day of history and hope, or renewal and resolve.”

Biden hugs his family after becoming president

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REUTERS

‘So help me God’

Biden takes the Oath and launches into an enormous grin. He hugs his wife and takes a moment to gather himself. He looks overcome with emotion.

Biden takes the Oath in front of the Capitol

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GETTY IMAGES

Here comes Biden…

The next president steps up to take the Oath.

J-Lo is here!

Now Jennifer Lopez is escorted down the steps in a white coat that makes he look a bit like George Washington. Which perhaps is the point. She takes to the mic and starts belting out: “This land is your land, this land is my land…”

Harris sworn in

Kamala steps up to the podium and takes the oath. She uses the same Bible she used to be sworn in as Attorney-General of California and later Senator, too.

“I, Kamala Devi Harris, solemly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”

An incredible moment.

Lady Gaga sings the anthem

That is an absolute corker of a dress. I’m not entirely sure what it is but there’s a giant golden bird on her chest. She’s got a big gold headband on and even her earpiece is gold. She glides through the crowd and takes to the stage, belting out The Star-Spangled Banner. “Not the most exuberant Star-Spangled Banner”, says ABC News. That’s Lady Gaga you’re talking about, pal, you watch yourself. All bets are off.

Now the guests turn to face the US flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Lady Gaga belting out the anthem

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REUTERS

Lady Gaga makes her way to the ceremony

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GETTY IMAGES

Pledge to the flag

And now we pray, with Rev Father Leo O’Donovan III inviting God to protect American democracy as He definitely always does. The guests close their eyes and join the Reverend in prayer, in language echoing the opening lines of the US Constitution.

Opening of the inauguration ceremony prayer:

“Gracious and merciful God, at this sacred time we come before you in need, indeed on our knees. But we come still more with hope and with our eyes raised anew to the vision of a more perfect union in our land.”

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) January 20, 2021

Snow! It’s funny because it’s not rain!

Senator Roy Blunt is next up, joking about the sprinkle of snow in DC this morning.

“I should’ve known when Senator Klobuchar got involved there would be a touch of snow involved,” Mr Blunt said.

Ms Klobuchar is from the oft-chilly state of Minnesota and she memorably launched her campaign for president in a deluge of snow.

Second big laugh of the ceremony. It’s not Stewart Lee but we’ll take some levity right now.

‘A whole bunch of Bidens’

After about 38 minutes of introducing all the guests with their formal titles, Amy Klobuchar adds a welcome to “…a whole bunch of Bidens”, getting the first big laugh of the ceremony from the next President’s whopping entourage of family and friends. Now she’s talking about how the angry mob at the Capitol “desecrated our democracy” which is quite the tonal shift.

The US senator for Minnesota then pays tribute to the ordinary Americans who “never give up hope for justice”.

Biden takes final steps as President-elect

Joe Biden is about to be escorted down the steps to the podium. For a few minutes it’s deathly quiet, a reminder of how bizarre this year’s ceremony is, with no screaming crowds. As Mr Biden and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, come down the steps, the band trumps away and the guests erupt with applause.

Amy Klobuchar is about to address the ceremony.

Here comes Kamala…

Kamala Harris and partner Doug Emhoff march down the steps towards the podium, applauded by Mike Pence. She fistbumps the Obamas and then throws all that social distancing stuff out the window with a few hugs for other members of the crowd.

It cannot be understated what a moment this is: a woman of colour about to become the Vice-President of the United States.

Powerful in purple

Purple seems to be the colour of the day, Josie Ensor writes.

Michelle Obama, former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and Secretary of State, and Kamala Harris, Vice-President Elect, are all wearing various hues.

Some fashion experts speculate that the colour could have been chosen to project unity. When blue, which could denote the Democrats, is mixed with red, which is the colour of the Republican Party, it of course makes purple.

United America is set to be the theme of Joe Biden’s speech.

Barack and Michelle Obama arrive for the ceremony in Washington

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GETTY IMAGES

Bomb threat at US Supreme Court ahead of Biden inaugural

A bomb threat was made to the US Supreme Court Wednesday ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden as president, but nothing was found by security personnel, the court said.

“The court received a bomb threat, the building and grounds were checked out, and the building is not being evacuated,” said high court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg.

The court is located next to the US Capitol, where Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, former presidents and top officials were gathering for the presidential inauguration ceremony.

The US capital city is on high alert for threats after the violent assault on the Capitol on January 6 by supporters of departing President Donald trump, who rejected Biden’s election win.

Capitol police officer who distracted insurrectionists escorts Kamala Harris

Eugene Goodman, the US Capitol Police officer who put himself in harm’s way while defending the building from a violent mob, has been named the Acting Deputy House Sergeant at Arms and just now escorted Kamala Harris, Vice President-elect, up the stairs of the Capitol today.

Mr Goodman managed to keep rioters away from senators as they were being evacuated out of the Capitol building and has been hailed for his heroism.

The image of the black officer holding up his hand to the mostly white protesters over-running Congress on January 6 has already become iconic.

Mr Goodman, who is a veteran, was seen walking up the stairs of the Capitol alongside Ms Harris in civilian clothes.

Here is Eugene Goodman. On the left escorting Kamala Harris up the stairs of the Capitol. On the right, defending it from an insurrectionist mob pic.twitter.com/hVPTkjW4ek

— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) January 20, 2021

‘Cheerio and don’t haste ye back’ – Nicola Sturgeon’s message to Donald Trump

Biden, Harris arrive at Capitol

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have just arrived at the Capitol for the inauguration ceremony, along with their respective spouses.

Th actual swearing-in ceremony is due to begin in a little over an hours time.

(L-R) Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration

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Joe Raedle /Getty Images North America

Washington DC ‘eerily quiet’

Rozina Sabur is out on the eerily quiet streets of Washington DC ahead of the inauguration this morning. She writes:

Makeshift security checkpoints have been erected all around the city centre. Concrete blocks and National Guard troops block the public’s access to most of the city’s landmarks.

This is an Inauguration Day like no other. Where usually hundreds of thousands of people would be crowding the streets in celebration, today there is an eerie silence in the air.

This is of course partly due to the coronavirus pandemic – the public to stay away over safety concerns – but the austere atmosphere comes largely from the heavily militarised atmosphere in the city centre.

Some 25,000 National Guard troops have been activated in the Washington area after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, with the FBI warning of the potential for further violent protests today. Large parts of the city, including around the White House and the Capitol building, have been blocked off to the public.

The Telegraph’s Washington bureau, like much of the downtown area, can only be accessed by passing through a secret service checkpoint. It appears the warnings to the American public to avoid the area have been heeded.

Walking around the chilly city this morning, The Telegraph could only spot one member of the public who had come out to mark the inauguration.

The man, who did not want to give his name, arrived draped in a Confederate flag and attempted to walk towards the White House, before turning back when he found his way blocked.

Biden’s Peloton could pose cyber security risk in White House, experts warn

Joe Biden’s Peloton exercise bike could pose a cyber-security risk should he bring it with him to the White House, erport Michael Cogley and James Cook.

The high-end connected workout machine has cameras, microphones, and a tablet, that allow riders to record live video of themselves taking part in exercise classes. The bikes, which start at £1,750, also display leaderboards where users’ performance is ranked against others.

The Peloton has formed a crucial part of Mr Biden’s fitness regime. The 78-year-old president-elect and Jill Biden, his wife, negotiate each morning over who gets to use the bike first, according to the New York Times.

READ MORE: Biden’s Peloton could pose cyber security risk in White House, experts warn

Obama to Biden: ‘This is your time’

A simple message of encouragement from the 44th President to the 46th.

US will rejoin WHO in one of first acts of Biden presidency

The United States will rejoin the World Health Organization in one of the first official acts of the Joe Biden presidency, an “incredibly important” move that halts the withdrawal process begun by Donald Trump administration, reports Sarah Newey.

Hours after being sworn in as the 46th President of the US, Mr Biden plans to sign a record 17 executive actionsreversing decisions on immigration, the environment and the economy made by his predecessor.

Included in this list is an intention to cease the process of withdrawal from the WHO. Last July Donald Trump announced plans to formally cut ties with the UN agency after accusing it of incompetence and being “very China-centric”.

READ MORE: US will rejoin WHO in one of first acts of Biden presidency

Eric Trump: ‘I will never forget Buckingham Palace’

Eric Trump has tweeted his thoughts on the last four years, saying his visit to Buckingham Palace was a particular highlight.

Inauguration preparation in pictures

Members of the Loudon County Virginia sheriff department patrol in Washington DC

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Michael M. Santiago /Getty Images North America

A supporter of U.S. President-elect takes a selfie in front of the U.S. Capitol

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Nathan Howard /Getty Images North America

The sun rises behind the US Capitol as preparations are made prior to the 59th inaugural ceremony for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

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CAROLINE BREHMAN /AFP

Joe Biden’s popularity in charts

As Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States he starts his term in office with a better standing both at home and abroad than his predecessor, analysis from our data journalism team shows.

Though he may be inheriting a bitterly divided and tense country in the wake of the storming of the Capitol and Donald Trump’s insistence that he won the 2020 election, President-elect Biden can at least count on popularity as he faces the the difficult task of uniting all Americans behind his vision for the future.

However, while the early signs in the data are positive for the new president, the polarisation of American politics could be thorn in his leadership and polling suggests he will not enjoy the same popularity as President Barack Obama.

READ MORE: Joe Biden’s popularity in charts: How the new president compares to Donald Trump

Meet the key members of Joe Biden’s presidential team

All eyes now turn to the administration of the 46th President. Aides have announced that Joe Biden will sign 17 executive actions just hours after he is sworn in today, undoing a raft of Donald Trump’s policies.

In first-day moves, he will end Trump’s much-assailed ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries and halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration, as well as return the US to both the WHO and Paris Climate Accords.

We take a look at the team who will be tasked with implementing his ambition policy agenda.

READ MORE: Meet the key members of Joe Biden’s presidential team, from Ron Klain to Anita Dunn

Greta Thunberg says goodbye to Trump

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has tweeted her thoughts on the departing Trump

Biden: ‘It’s a new day in America’

Out with the old, in with the new.

Moments after Trump took off for Florida, President-elect (for only a couple hours more) Biden has tweeted a simple message to the world.

‘My Way’ plays as Air Force One takes off

You can argue over Trump’s political strategies, agenda and personal character, but one thing you can’t argue with is that Donald J Trump is a showman. As Air Force One departed for Florida the perfect walk-off song played from speakers on the ground.

Read Trump’s speech in full

Trump ‘left Biden a letter’

CNN’s White House Reporter Kevin Liptak has reported that Trump did observe one tradition as an outgoing president.

Despite refusing to attend the inauguration, Trump has left Joe Biden a letter, as per tradition, although the contents are not known. However, given Trump’s penchant for breaking norms, it could say anything.

The final moments of the 45th President in pictures

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

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CARLOS BARRIA /REUTERS

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Marine One before boarding Air Force One

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Manuel Balce Ceneta /AP

US President Donald Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

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ALEX EDELMAN /AFP

Trump departs for Florida

Wheels up on Air Force One! Donald Trump has left Washington DC to return to Florida to begin his life as an everyday citizen.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump wave as they board Air Force One

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Alex Edelman/AFP

Trump hails economy, judges and pandemic response in final speech

Donald Trump used his final remarks to tout the successes of his administration, focussing on the economy, the Supreme Court and the coronavirus response.

“The job numbers have been absolutely incredible. When we started had we not been hit by the pandemic, we would have had numbers that would never have been seen,” he said. “And now the stock market is actually substantially higher than it was at its higher point prior to the pandemic. So you could say we built it twice.”

On the pandemic, Trump said: “We did something that is really considered a medical miracle, they’re calling it a miracle and that was the vaccine. We got the vaccine developed in nine months instead of nine years or five years or 10 years. It was meant to take a long time, many, many years to develop a vaccine.”

Trump also discussed the three judges he managed to get confirmed to the Supreme Court: “And one of the things we’re very, very proud of is the selection of almost 300 federal judges and three Supreme Court justices. That’s a really big number, that’s a record setting number. So we’ve done a lot and there’s still things to do.”

Trump rounded off his speech by teasing his future, promising he will return to the lives of Americans in some form: “This is a great, great country. It is my greatest honour and privilege to have been your President. So just a goodbye, we love you, we will be back in some form.”

Biden heads to church

Meanwhile, back in DC, President-elect Joe Biden is attending church ahead of his inauguration, a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden are attending a service at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them are incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.

At Biden’s invitation, the first couple is joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.

President-elect Joe Biden is joined his wife Jill Biden as they celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies

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Evan Vucci/AP

That includes both Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Many presidents have chosen St. John’s Episcopal Church, sometimes called “Church of the Presidents,” for the inaugural day service. Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and St. Matthew’s is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.

Biden spent Tuesday night at Blair House, a traditional move ahead of a president’s inauguration.

Trump wishes Biden ‘success’

Donald Trump also wished the Biden administration success in the White House, without explicitly saying Joe Biden’s name.

“I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something very spectacular.”

Trump boards Air Force One

Trump and his wife Melania have boarded Air Force One to fly to Florida, with YMCA, the anthem of so many MAGA rallies, blaring out one last time.

Trumps final speech in pictures

Ivanka Trump (2nd R), husband Jared Kushner (R), their children, Eric (C-R) and Donald Jr. (C-R) and Trump family members stand on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews

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ALEX EDELMAN /AFP

Ivanka Trump attends the departure ceremony of U.S. President Donald Trump

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CARLOS BARRIA /Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks next to first lady Melania Trump as he departs from the Joint Base Andrews

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CARLOS BARRIA /REUTERS

Trump: ‘We love you, we will be back’

Trump rounds off his speech by saying “Goodbye, we love you, we will be back in some form. Have a good life. We will see you soon.”

In response, the crowd chanted: “Thank you Trump!”

Trump ‘We achieved a medical miracle in the vaccine’

Trump has touted his pandemic response strategy: “We achieved a medical miracle in the vaccine. We discovered it in nine months where normally it takes ten years.”

“The China virus was a horrible thing, we all know where it came from. So be very vey careful as it’s a horrible thing. But we want to pay great love to all the families who are suffering.”

“Despite suffering the worst plague since 1917, we have achieved some incredible things.”

Trump: ‘We’ve accomplished a lot’

Donald Trump began his speech by thanking his family and team around him: “I want to thank all of my family, and my friends and staff. You have no idea how hard this family worked. They could have had a much easier life.”

“We’ve accomplished a lot.”

Melania Trump also took to the stage to say a few words: “Being First Lady was my greatest honour. Thank you for all your support. God bless you all and God bless this beautiful nation.”

Trump takes the stage

Donald Trump has taken the stage to deliver his final remarks as President. You can watch live at the top of our blog.

Trump: ‘It’s been a great honour’

Four years after standing on stage at his own inauguration and painting a dire picture of “American carnage,” Trump departed the office twice impeached, with millions more out of work and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Republicans under his watch lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress.

He will be forever remembered for the final major act of his presidency: inciting an insurrection at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation.

“It’s been a great honour, the honour of a lifetime. The greatest people in the world, the greatest home in the world,” Trump told reporters before heading to Marine One, rotors whirring, on South Lawn.

“We accomplished a lot.”

Trump lands at Joint Base Andrews

After a short flight on Marine One, Donald Trump has landed at Joint Base Andrews, where he will deliver some final remarks at a farewell event.

Trump departs in pictures

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stop to talk with the media as they walk to board Marine One

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Alex Brandon /AP

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House

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Alex Brandon/AP

Marine One flies by the Washington Monument

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CAROLINE BREHMAN/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

Outgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC

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MANDEL NGAN /AFP

What next for Donald Trump’s children following Joe Biden’s inauguration?

AS Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the president’s exit will lead to the start of a Trump political dynasty, writes Nick Allen.

The Trump presidency has been a family affair and, as Donald Trump’s star falls, his children find their futures looking uncertain too.

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have been White House employees, senior advisers to the president and, after he leaves office, will be looking for new work.

When Mr Trump assumed office, he left his adult sons, Donald Jr and Eric, running the Trump Organization. If he were to decide to resume control of his business they may be less busy too.

READ MORE: What next for Donald Trump’s children following Joe Biden’s inauguration?

Donald Trump leaves White House

With a smile and a thumbs up, Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time.

How history teachers in 2051 will discuss the 45th President and his legacy

After four years of divisive policies, outrageous tweets and two impeachments, Donald Trump will leave office today as officially the worst US president.

His approval rating of just 41 per cent is lower than any president since polling began in 1938. In fact, he is the first president never to get above 50 per cent approval at any time.

So, what will the history books of the future say about him?

Here, Kristian Shanks, head of history at Sherburn High School in North Yorkshire takes a look at how Trump may be taught in the classroom.

READ MORE: Trump in the classroom: how history teachers in 2051 will discuss the 45th President and his legacy

Trump frees former aides from ethics pledge, lobbying ban

Despite running on pledges to ‘Drain the Swamp’, President Donald Trump, in one of his final acts of office, released current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge, which included a five-year ban on lobbying their former agencies.

The ethics pledge was outlined in one of Trump’s first executive orders, signed on Jan. 28, 2017. It required Trump’s political appointees to agree to the lobbying ban, as well as pledge not to undertake work that would require them to register as a “foreign agent” after leaving government. Trump’s order authorized the attorney general to investigate any breaches of the ethics pledge and to pursue civil suits if necessary.

Trump signed the one-page revocation of the order on Tuesday, and it was released by the White House shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday, hours before his term ends.

The new order states: “Employees and former employees subject to the commitments in Executive Order 13770 will not be subject to those commitments after noon January 20, 2021.”

President Bill Clinton signed a similar order with weeks left on his final term, allowing former aides to go directly into lobbying after leaving his administration.

Brussels metro takes swipe at Trump

The world is saying its collective farewell to Donald Trump and some have not been able to resist taking a parting shot.

Among them, the Brussels metro and tram operator. In 2016, Donald Trump referred to Brussels as a ‘hell hole’, but the city is determined to have the last laugh.

The president’s gift to America is a new breed: the pro-Trump extremist

In the wake of January 6, some Republicans will want to break from Trumpism.

Their problem may be that Trump’s mythos is now everywhere. Like coronavirus, QAnon-inflected fantasies now spread unpredictably through the population, popping up in police forces, veteran communities, and even, according to some reports, the military (National Guard troops sent to the Capitol are having to be vetted for their sympathies).

One Democratic congresswoman’s chief of staff told the Boston Globe that when the invasion began, she went for the panic buttons in her office – only to find that all of them had been “torn out”.

READ MORE: The president’s gift to America is a new breed: the pro-Trump extremist

Boris looks forward to working on ‘shared priorities’ with Biden

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he looked forward to working with Joe Biden on their “shared priorities”, just hours before Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States.

“As I said when I spoke with him on his election as President, I look forward to working with him, and with his new administration, strengthening the partnership between our countries and working on our shared priorities: from tackling climate change, building back better from the pandemic and strengthening our Transatlantic security,” Boris said in parliament.

The PM also said the UK should have “the best possible relationship” with the US, and stresses the “phenomenal” year ahead with the G7.

He also stresses the Gavi summit, net zero and says they will work with Joe Biden a new trans-Atlantic partnership.

Russia says better ties with US up to Biden

The Kremlin has said that any improvement in Moscow’s tense relationship with Washington would depend on Joe Biden when he enters the White House.

The United States recently blamed Kremlin-backed hackers for a massive cyberattack that breached government institutions, adding to a long list of grievances plaguing ties between the former Cold War rivals.

“Russia will live as it has lived for hundreds of years: seeking good relations with the United States,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Whether or not Washington works towards achieving the same goal “will depend on Mr Biden and his team,” Mr Peskov added.

Despite disagreements surrounding conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as US election meddling and hacking allegations against Russia, the countries will be in a race to extend a landmark nuclear weapons accord shortly after Biden is sworn in. The 2010 New START treaty – the last remaining nuclear pact between the countries – limits both sides to 1,500 nuclear warheads each and is set to expire February 5.

‘Biden will see Brexit Britain for what it really is: his closest partner in defending the international order’

There is now a unique opportunity for a Democratic President and a Conservative Prime Minister to show the world the way, says former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

As the smoke from the insurrection clears, Biden’s first task clearly starts at home and we can expect that he will be magnanimous in victory. In doing so he should recognise some of the reasons why eleven million more people voted for Trump than four years ago, and seek to bring a polarised nation back together.His other task will be to return America to a leading role in the international community. A strong America abroad depends on a strong America at home and both are in the UK’s interests.

READ MORE:Biden will see Brexit Britain for what it really is: his closest partner in defending the international order

The world prepares to welcome Biden and Harris

A man adjusts a calendar with photos of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at Harris’ ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu

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Arun Sankar/AFP

Grevin wax museum employees remove the head of a wax statue of outgoing US President Donald Trump as the statue is taken away from the display area at the Grevin museum in Paris

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Christophe Archambault/AFP

The unfinished head of a wax statue of US President elect Joe Biden before its installation at the Grevin wax museum in Paris

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Christophe Archambault/AFP

A man wears cut-outs of U.S.President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and walks on a street in Chennai, India

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R. Parthibhan /STR

Trump prepares for farewell ceremony to end tumultuous term

President Donald Trump leaves the presidency on Wednesday under a dark cloud of his own making, ending his single four-year term stained by two impeachments, deep political divisions and his handling of a pandemic that has caused 400,000 U.S. deaths.

Trump, 74, will bid farewell to the White House hours before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. That will make him the first outgoing president since Andrew Johnson in 1869 to skip the Inauguration Day ceremony marking the formal transfer of power, in a final display of pique at his failure to win re-election.

Trump and his wife, Melania, will depart the South Lawn on the Marine One helicopter for Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where he will preside over a military-style sendoff before boarding Air Force One one last time to fly to Florida. You can watch his sendoff in our livestream at the top of this blog.

His arrival at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach is being timed to get him behind the wall of the resort before Trump’s term as president expires at noon.

READ MORE: Trump prepares for farewell ceremony to end tumultuous term

‘Lots of optimism’ in Washington ahead of Biden inauguration, says UK ambassador

The UK’s ambassador to the US, Dame Karen Pierce, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that there was “a lot of optimism” in Washington ahead of the inauguration ceremony, which has been scaled back as a result of coronavirus measures.

She suggested that Mr Biden would be a more predictable partner for the UK – but defended Mr Trump’s unorthodox approach to international affairs.

“There were certain things about the way Donald Trump, President Trump, did business that made it harder for certain quarters, the Russians would be one, to second guess him, and that sometimes has a utility,” she said

“But I think the whole of the diplomatic corps is very pleased to see American democracy come out on top.”

‘Kamala Harris is a role model for women – we should celebrate her style as well as her substance’

The first female vice president-elect’s style is not exempt from fashion commentary, says our Head of Fashion Lisa Armstrong.

I’m beginning to think there’s something unsettling about the righteous anger that breaks out in certain quarters every time Kamala Harris’s style is discussed. Sure, there’s a hell of a lot else to think – and worry – about for Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony. But that shouldn’t mean we’re not allowed to look, assess and even enjoy Harris’s appearance.

READ MORE: Kamala Harris is a role model for women – we should celebrate her style as well as her substance

Trump the only president since WWII to never achieve positive approval ratings

China takes parting shot at ‘lying and cheating’ Pompeo

Speaking of China, with hours left in Donald Trump’s presidency, China’s foreign ministry took aim at its chief U.S. antagonist, “lying and cheating” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and said it would seek cooperation with the incoming administration of Joe Biden.

Mr Pompeo, who has unleashed a barrage of measures against China in his final weeks in office, delivered his own parting shot on Tuesday when he announced that the Trump administration had determined that China has committed “genocide and crimes against humanity” by repressing Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

“Pompeo has made so many lies in recent years, and this is just another bold-faced lie,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular media briefing.

“This so-called determination by Pompeo is nothing but paper. This U.S. politician is notorious for lying and cheating, is making himself a laughing stock and a clown,” she said.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of abuse of the Uighur population in its western Xinjiang region, where a United Nations panel has said that at least 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims had been detained in camps.

However, Biden’s secretary of state appointee, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday that he agreed with Mr Pompeo’s genocide assessment.

“The forcing of men, women and children into concentration camps; trying to, in effect, re-educate them to be adherents to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, all of that speaks to an effort to commit genocide,” he said.

Joe Biden promotes foreign policy tsar in sign of ‘pivot to Asia’

There is a certain disquiet in East Asia about what will replace outgoing US President Donald Trump’s tough-on China rhetoric when his successor Joe Biden takes office this week, writes Nicola Smith.

President Trump may stand accused of trying to undermine US democracy, but in corners of Asia he has been viewed as a strongman ally against China’s authoritarian ideology. Some fear a return to Obama-era engagement with Beijing that was criticised for granting too much leeway to its Communist leaders.

But foreign policy analysts argue that President Biden will hold a firm line against Beijing while dropping the bellicosity that could have triggered a conflict in the Indo-Pacific, and will start by rebuilding regional alliances as a stronger counterweight to Chinese military and political influence.

READ MORE: Joe Biden promotes foreign policy tsar in sign of ‘pivot to Asia’

German president ‘greatly relieved’ at US change of power

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has expressed relief that Joe Biden was replacing Donald Trump as US president, calling it a “good day for democracy”.

“I am greatly relieved that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president today and move into the White House,” the head of state said.

“I know this feeling is shared by many people in Germany.”

He said Germany looked forward “to knowing we again have the US at our side as an indispensable partner” in addressing “the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, security issues, arms control and disarmament, and many urgent conflicts around the world”.

Even “differences of opinion” would not be allowed to “separate us, but rather lead us to look even harder for shared solutions”, he added.

However Mr Steinmeier warned that “despite the joy of this day”, the last four years had shown that “populism also seduced the most powerful democracy in the world”.

‘Tea with the new First Lady? It’s the least you can do, Melania’

As she leaves the White House, Melania Trump has an opportunity to practice the same value of kindness and that she teaches, says Allison Pearson.

The sting of defeat can make things hard. Not to mention the prospect of being turfed out of your beautiful home by someone who has publicly insulted your spouse on a daily basis for the past 12 months. Yet, all First Ladies of the modern era have managed to swallow their pride and be the bigger person for the sake of what Lady Bird Johnson called “the great quadrennial American pageant”. Not Melania Trump. At the time of writing, the woman who ceases to be First Lady on Wednesday has not extended the hand of friendship – or even a cup of Lapsang and a mini muffin – to Jill Biden. As an act of omission, it’s as graceless as Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be boycotting the inauguration.

READ MORE: Tea with the new First Lady? It’s the least you can do, Melania

Biden to sign 17 executive orders today, say aides

US President-elect Joe Biden plans to kick off his new administration with orders to restore the United States to the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization, aides said.

Biden will sign a record 17 orders and actions just hours after being sworn in as US leader to break from policies of departing President Donald Trump and set new paths on immigration, the environment, fighting Covid-19 and the economy, they said.

In first-day moves, he will end Trump’s much-assailed ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries and halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration, the aides said.

He will also set a mask mandate on federal properties to stem the spread of Covid-19; restore protections of valuable nature reserves removed by Trump; and seek freezes on evictions and protection for millions behind on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He also plans to send a bill to Congress to revamp immigration policies and give millions of undocumented migrants living inside the country a path to citizenship that the Trump administration denied.

Biden “will take action – not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration – but also to start moving our country forward,” his aides said in a statement.

“These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president.”

Donald Trump’s presidency in pictures

A portents of the struggle to come…

Four years ago, America was preparing to inaugurate a very different kind of President, under very different circumstances.

The inauguration of Donald Trump was marked by the Women’s March on Washington, which was one of the largest protests in American history. Over 5 million Americans took to the streets across the nation to protest his election.

One woman summed up the mood of the crowd that day via a single noise:

‘Republicans must convict Trump or face a future as the voice of the angry white man’

Trump will continue to foment anger and resentment amongst his followers if he’s not dealt with by his party, says former UK ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch.

The Republican Party also faces a core challenge; a fork in the road. In July 2017, I predicted that the Trump Presidency would remain chaotic and dysfunctional and could end in disgrace. So it proved. But Trump is not a man who will now focus on building his Presidential library. The opposite: he will continue to foment anger and resentment amongst his followers and looks to be contemplating a 2024 run.

READ MORE: Republicans must convict Trump or face a future as the voice of the angry white man

Philippines sees ‘close and friendly’ ties with Biden administration

The Philippines will maintain “close and friendly” relations with the United States under President-elect Joe Biden, a top Philippine official said, amid a period of strain in their decades-old alliance.

“We congratulate again the incoming president and we look forward to having close and friendly relations with the Biden administration,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told CNN Philippines ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

Ties have been tested since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016 and embarked on months of expletive-laden tirades against the United States and threatened repeatedly to scrap their bilateral military agreements.

Mr Duterte has sought warmer ties with China and Russia, and took particular aim at former counterpart Barack Obama, to whom Biden was vice president. He once said he would not visit the United States, calling it a “lousy” country.

Though Mr Duterte has spoken positively about U.S. President Donald Trump, he has remained critical of American foreign policy.

Philippine political analysts expect the Biden administration to be more vocal than its predecessor about human rights issues in the Philippines, including Mr Duterte’s signature war on drugs, during which thousands of people have been killed.

What the Romans can teach us about Trump and Biden

The one question that as a classicist I have been asked most these past four years is which Roman emperor Donald Trump is like, writes Mary Beard. And, with the recent US presidential election and Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden, I am now getting the same request about him.

What I always reply is that we can learn about ourselves from thinking about Ancient Rome – but it doesn’t offer nice off-the-peg comparisons. So when I watch – with some trepidation given the events of recent weeks – the inauguration on a Capitol Hill full of classical resonances, I will be weighing up how a modern democracy like the United States deals with the inevitably messy, brutal business of succession next to how the Romans handled it.

On my desk as I write this is a bust of Emperor Vitellius that I picked up cheaply in a local auction. I have been studying him recently and my husband spotted the 19th century plaster cast up for sale in a catalogue.

READ MORE: The brutal reality of succession: what the Romans can teach us about Trump and Biden

EU chiefs express relief as ‘friend’ replaces Trump

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, has told MEPs that she is pleased that Europe will have a “friend” in the White House.

“This time-honoured ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy,” she said.

“And the resounding proof that, once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.”

Meanwhile, Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said: “Today is more than a transition. Today is an opportunity to rejuvenate our transatlantic relationship, which has greatly suffered in the last four years. In these years, the world has grown more complex, less stable and less predictable”

“On the first day of his mandate, I address a solemn proposal to the new president. Let’s build a new founding pact for a stronger Europe, for a stronger America and for a better world.”

“America seems to have changed. How it is perceived in Europe and the rest of the world has also changed. Likewise, the way the United States views the European Union may also have to change. The EU chooses its course and does not wait for permission to take its own decisions. Still, what unites us is so much greater than what divides us.”

‘Biden unleashes a fiscal bazooka, but Britain has no such weapon’

Unlike the US, the UK is too reliant on the confidence of foreign investors to grow its way out of trouble, says Jeremy Warner.

For close followers of macro-economic policy, rarely has the gulf that separates the United States from the UK and Europe looked quite so wide as it does today.While the incoming US president, Joe Biden, plans a further $1.9 trillion (£1.4 trillion) pandemic-related fiscal stimulus – together with a separate, but similarly sized, package of climate crisis spending to come – here in Europe we fixate not so much on the challenge of rescuing the economy from Covid oblivion but on how to repair the damage the disease has already inflicted on the public balance sheet.

READ MORE: Biden unleashes a fiscal bazooka, but Britain has no such weapon

Donald Trump’s farewell: Our movement is ‘only just beginning’

Biden’s inauguration is ‘frankly, time to move on’ from Donald Trump, says Home Secretary

The inauguration of President Joe Biden is “frankly, time to move on” from Donald Trump’s tenure, Priti Patel has said, hailing the handover as a “moment of change” for the world.

The Home Secretary, who was the first Cabinet minister to directly link Mr Trump with the violent storming of the Capitol earlier this month, said he had been “very robust” and the UK had enjoyed “working very strongly” alongside his administration.

But she told Sky News “A new political era is now starting. There is a lot to do globally [including] uniting the US at the end of the Trump administration, and stepping up to really confront and address many of the global challenges we face collectively.”

She added: “As you would expect the Government… looks forward to working with President Joe Biden and his administration on a whole range of issues.”

That includes the ongoing fight against Covid and across climate change, defence and security, as well as a post-Brexit trade deal.

The UK failed to strike a much hoped-for trade “mini-deal” in the last days of the Trump administration, including the removal of tariffs on imports of Scotch whisky and cashmere imposed last year as part of the Boeing-Airbus trade dispute.

Nigel Farage: Trump supporters don’t hate Democrats… they just think they are ‘a bit nuts’

Trump supporters do not hate Democrats they just think they are “a bit nuts”, Nigel Farage has said on the eve of the inauguration of Joe Biden as 46th president of the United States.

Speaking to the Telegraph’s Trump Card podcast, Mr Farage said Democrats were filled with a “moral superiority” over Republicans, similar to the way that Remainers looked down on people who voted Leave after the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Mr Farage said he received the slightly bemused reaction when he spoke about Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives speaker, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the US congresswoman known by her initials as AOC, to Trump supporters in the run up to the US general election in November.

Trump halts deportation of Venezuelans for 18 months

On his last night in the White House, outgoing President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday suspending the deportation of Venezuelans from US territory for a period of 18 months, citing the ongoing crisis in their own country.

“I have determined that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer the removal of any national of Venezuela, or alien without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela,” for 18 months, the executive ordered signed by Trump said.

The move had been pushed by the president’s Republican allies in Florida, where many Venezuelans have settled after fleeing the economic collapse and political turmoil in their native country, ruled for more than two decades by a socialist regime.

The Miami Herald said the order could aid up to 200,000 Venezuelans who live under threat of detention and deportation.

Donald Trump’s four years in the White House: the highlights (and lowlights)

When Donald Trump won the 2016 election, nobody expected him to be a conventional president but there was enough belief to think he might grow into the job, writes David Millward.

Never dull and frequently chaotic, the Trump presidency was peppered with controversy from the moment he took the oath of office, to the day he finally – and reluctantly – leaves the White House.

Iran’s Rouhani hails departure of ‘tyrant’ Trump

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has hailed the departure of “tyrant” US counterpart Donald Trump, who is due to leave office later today making way for President-elect Joe Biden.

A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said in televised remarks to his cabinet.

“Someone for whom all of his four years bore no fruit other than injustice and corruption and causing problems for his own people and the world.”

During his presidency, Trump led a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, pulling Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018 and reimposing punishing sanctions.

The sanctions targeted Iran’s vital oil sales and international banking ties, plunging its economy into a deep recession.

Agreed between major powers and Iran in 2015 when Biden was vice president under Barack Obama, the nuclear deal imposed clear limits on Iran’s activities in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Steve Bannon’s pardon surprised White House staff

Further to our posts at 4.58am and 6.11am, Steve Bannon’s pardon raised eyebrows not only among the general public, but among White House staff as well.

The New York Times is reporting that officials had tried to convince the President to keep Mr Bannon’s name off the list and delayed its release in the hopes they could convince Trump. They thought they had managed to do so, but at 9pm (2am GMT) last night, after extensive pressure from Bannon’s advisers, Trump took the unilateral decision to offer his former chief strategist a pardon.

Trump’s relationship with Mr Bannon has been highly volatile. Mr Bannon was a key figure in the 2016 campaign, earning himself the role of White House chief strategist.

However, the two men fell out acrimoniously following his resignation in the wake of the protests in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017. Both men began slinging mud at each other, with Mr Bannon cooperating with Michael Wolff’s tell-all book, while Trump nicknamed him ‘Sloppy Steve’.

This process continued until a few months ago, when Mr Bannon began supporting a second Trump term and trumpeted claims of election fraud.

Mr Bannon was in need of a pardon, owing to charges of defrauding Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president’s wall on the US-Mexico border. Mr Bannon denies the charges against him.

Joe Biden and Harris honour victims of Covid-19 before inauguration

Joe Exotic not handed pardon

Notable on Donald Trump’s final list of presidential pardons were some absences.

One name who had been expecting to receive clemency was Joe Exotic, the star of Netflix’s TV series Tiger King. He and his legal team have been campaigning very publicly for a pardon, with his lawyers even booking him a limo to pick him up from prison in case such a pardon came.

Mr Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after being convicted for a murder-for-hire plot involving nemesis Carole Baskin as well as violating wildlife laws in the selling and death of some tigers.

In June 2020, Trump fuelled speculation that he may pardon Mr Exotic, after referring to him as a “strange guy” in media comments. However, he has never publicly discussed pardoning the former zoo owner.

Timings for today’s inauguration

Good morning everyone. As America, and indeed the world, prepares to welcome in a new President, official timings have been released for today’s event.

President-elect Joe Biden, and vice-president elect Kamala Harris, begin their day by attending a church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle with their spouses and key Congressional leaders. The service begins at 8.45am (1:45pm GMT). Meanwhile, Donald Trump will hold a farewell ceremony for himself at 8am (1pm GMT) before flying to Florida.

Biden and Harris will travel to the Capitol at 10.30am (3.30pm GMT) before the swearing-in ceremony begins at 11.15am (4:45pm GMT). Biden will be sworn in at noon (5pm GMT) and will deliver his inaugural address after that.

From there, it’s off to a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 2.25pm (7.45pm GMT) before the pair are escorted to the White House where Biden will start immediately signing Executive Orders, beginning the process of undoing Trump’s four years.

Finally, at 8.48pm (1.48am GMT) Biden and Harris will attend the ‘Celebrating America’ inaugural programme where both will speak.

Who made the pardons list?

Donald Trump granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardonsand commutations issued in his final hours in office, but did not pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Mr Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals. The list includes Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Mr Trump who pleaded guilty last year to violating foreign lobbying laws, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges.

Rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses, were also granted pardons.

Julian Assange supporters had hoped Mr Trump would pardon the Wikileaks founder, however he did not make the list.

Read the full report.

White House confirms pardons

The White House has released its list of those who have been granted clemency. The president granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals.

Steve Bannon is among those pardoned, as reported.

But there was disappointment for Joe Exotic, who was not named on the list.

Bannon ‘an important leader in the conservative movement’

The Washington Post also reports that Bannon has been pardoned. Its White House correspondent reports on the reason behind the clemency:

White House explanation of Bannon pardon: “Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project. Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen.”

— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 20, 2021

Pardon for former top fundraiser Elliott Broidy

Donald Trump has also pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump who pleaded guilty last year to violating foreign lobbying laws.

Broidy, a top fundraiser for Trump during the 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty in October to violating lobbying laws by attempting to influence the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

AP reports Bannon expected to be pardoned

The Associated Press is also reporting that Bannon is expected to be pardoned by Trump.

However, their source stressed that Trump has flip-flopped repeatedly as he mulls his final clemency action, and warned the decision could be reversed until it’s formally unveiled.

Stephen Bannon exits Manhattan Federal Court in August last year

Credit:
AFP

Lil Wayne ‘pardoned’

Trump has pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, as well as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a senior administration official told Reuters.

Lil Wayne, 38, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., pleaded guilty in federal court in December to illegally possessing a firearm and faced up to 10 years in prison. He has expressed support for Trump’s criminal justice reform efforts.

Lil Wayne performs during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Credit:
Reuters

Kodak Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for making a false statement in order to buy a firearm.

Kilpatrick was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges.

Trump expected to pardon former adviser Bannon

Donald Trump is expected to grant clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations he will issue during his final hours in office, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

Mr Bannon was charged last year with swindling Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president’s wall on the US-Mexico border.

Read more: Trump Jnr distances himself from Bannon’s ‘Build the Wall’ scheme after organisers charged with fraud

Pelosi suggests Trump could be an accessory to murder

“When we talk about, ‘did any of our colleagues collaborate?’ — that remains to be seen … If they did, they would be accessories to the crime. The crime, in some cases, was murder. This president is an accessory to that crime,” Speaker Pelosi says about the Capitol riot. pic.twitter.com/wZW5AFZmBb

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 20, 2021

Trump’s final schedule

Donald Trumps’s schedule has been released for the day he leaves office. In recent weeks, the schedule had been the same, day after day:

He appears to have no more calls and meetings:

Katy Perry to join stars for primetime celebration

Katy Perry has joined the list of stars performing during the celebrations for Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said the chart-topping pop star will appear during the primetime broadcast of Celebrating America, which will be hosted by Tom Hanks.

The show will air after Mr Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States in Washington DC on Wednesday, alongside his vice-president Kamala Harris.

Perry joins artists including John Legend, Demi Lovato, Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake in appearing during the Celebrating America special.

The programme will “showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild,” according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Will Joe Exotic get a pardon?

One person hoping for a pardon from Mr Trump is Joe Exotic, who featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is serving a 22-year sentence in a Fort Worth, Texas, federal prison for his conviction on charges that he participated in a murder-for-hire plot and violated federal wildlife laws.

His legal team is so confident he will receive a pardon, they have reportedly hired a stretched limo to pick him up.

Joe Exotic’s legal team tell me they are “100% confident” Trump will pardon the ‘Tiger King’ from his 22-year criminal sentence. Here’s the 38ft “Monster Ram Truck Limo” they’ve reserved to pick him up. They plan to grab some McRibs immediately after. pic.twitter.com/mK69eGLiBV

— Greg Walters (@thegregwalters) January 19, 2021

Insider trading probe into Richard Burr ‘dropped’

Sen. Richard Burr has said the Justice Department has told him it will not prosecute him over stock sales made during the coronavirus pandemic, ending an insider trading investigation that led him to at least temporarily step aside from a powerful committee chairmanship last year.

Prosecutors had investigated for months whether the North Carolina Republican and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee had exploited advance information when he unloaded as much as $1.7 million in stocks in the days before the coronavirus caused markets to plummet.

“The case is now closed,” Burr said in a statement. “I’m glad to hear it. My focus has been and will continue to be working for the people of North Carolina during this difficult time for our nation.”

His lawyer, Alice Fisher, described the investigation as a “thorough review” and said Burr, who has said he will not seek reelection after his term ends in 2023, would remain focused on “the safety and security of North Carolinians and the United States as a whole.”

President clamps down on foreign cyber meddling

President Trump has signed an executive order directing the Commerce Department to restrict or ban cloud computing products of foreign actors who use them for malicious cyber operations, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

The order – due to be released later tonight on Mr Trump’s last full day in office – directs the department to write rules to restrict or prohibit foreign transactions in cloud computing products or services, if a foreign actor or jurisdiction uses them for malicious actions.

Trump declassifies Crossfire intel

Donald Trump has declassified information related to the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and his 2016 presidential campaign.

He did not reveal what that information was, except to say that it was included in a binder of materials that the Justice Department had provided to the White House at his request late last month.

The material being declassified relates to Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s code name for the investigation it began in 2016 into whether the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to influence the election. The declassification move is part of a continuing effort by Mr Trump and his allies, including in Congress, to release information aimed at discrediting the Russia probe.

Mr Trump says he has accepted redactions proposed by the FBI, which had objected to the declassification.

You can listen to The Telegraph‘s fascinating podcast about the investigation, and Britain’s surprising role in it, here:

Johnson hails Biden inauguration

Boris Johnson has said he looks forward to working closely with Joe Biden as America’s president-elect prepares to take office.

Mr Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday amid unprecedented security after Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol earlier this month.

In a statement ahead of his inauguration, Mr Johnson declared his intention to work “hand in hand” with the new incumbent of the White House on promoting their shared goals.

The Prime Minister, however, is viewed with suspicion by some influential Democrats who regard him as “Trump clone” – an image that he is anxious to shake off.

In his statement, he pointed to the continuing common interests the UK and the US share on defence, security and “defending democracy”.

Johnson is keen to show the Biden administration that he is not a “Trump clone”

Credit:
AP

Today’s top stories

Joe Biden will today be sworn in as the president of the United States. Here are the top stories:

  • Donald Trump has vowed his movement is “only just beginning” as he addressed Americans in a farewell speech before he leaves office
  • Joe Biden broke down in tears as he paid tribute to his son Beau at his farewell speech in Delaware, his home state
  • Two National Guard members were removed from the unprecedented security mission to protect the inauguration over links to violent rightwing organisations, officials revealed
  • Mr Biden and Kamala Harris, his vice president, held a ceremony by Washington’s Lincoln Memorial to remember coronavirus victims as the US death toll from passed 400,000
  • Mr Biden’s incoming treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, indicated that she could support reversing parts of Mr Trump’s flagship tax cut
  • The new administration is expected to offer an historic olive branch to the estimated 11 million migrants living in America without legal status, offering an eight-year path to US citizenship
  • Joe Biden has announced his nomination for assistant health secretary, who would become the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the US Senate
  • Mr Biden’s daughter Ashley has said she will not have a job in her father’s administration, unlike Ivanka Trump, in her first interview since the election
  • YouTube will keep Donald Trump locked out of his account for at least seven more days, preventing the president from posting on one of the few social media networks he had not been permanently banned from
  • Donald Trump will leave office with the lowest approval ratings of any postwar president