By LIBBY CATHEY, JACK ARNHOLZ and LAUREN KING, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — This is the sixth day of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:
Jan 25, 11:29 pm
Trump endorses Sarah Sanders for Arkansas governor
In his first official public endorsement since leaving office, former President Donald Trump backed Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ campaign for governor of Arkansas on Monday, hours after the former White House press secretary officially announced her bid.
Trump released the statement backing Sanders via his new political action committee, Save America, calling his former aide “a warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct.”
“Sarah will be a GREAT Governor, and she has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” the statement reads.
Trump had previously publicly encouraged Sanders to run for governor.
Jan 25, 10:04 pm
McConnell says he will allow power sharing agreement to go forward
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday night that he will allow the Senate power-sharing agreement brokered with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to go forward, solidifying how the evenly tied Senate will function for the next two years.
Specific details of the agreement are not yet clear, but McConnell cites statements from two Democratic members — Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz — who have said they will not vote to overturn the Senate filibuster rule as the reason he is allowing the agreement to move forward.
Progress on reaching a power-sharing agreement stalled when McConnell announced he wanted assurances from Schumer that he would not overturn the filibuster rule. If Schumer had wanted to do this it would have required the unanimous support of his caucus.
“The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate’s last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001. With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent,” McConnell wrote in a statement.
Justin Goodman, a Schumer spokesperson, released a statement in response to the move.
“We’re glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand. We look forward to organizing the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people,” Goodman said in the statement.
Jan 25, 9:04 pm
Trump opens ‘Office of the Former President’
Former President Donald Trump Monday opened an “Office of the Former President,” according to a statement from the office.
“The Office will be responsible for managing President Trump’s correspondence, public statements, appearances, and official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration through advocacy, organizing, and public activism,” the statement read.
The announcement comes the same day that House Democrats delivered an article of impeachment to the Senate, setting in motion the second impeachment trial against Trump in the chamber.
Jan 25, 8:41 pm
Biden, Merkel agree to revitalize alliance between countries
Biden continued with his calls to world leaders Monday, this time speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and agreeing to revitalize the two countries’ alliance.
They agreed that cooperation was important to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. They also said the U.S. and Germany would work together on foreign policy issues regarding Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia, Ukraine and the Western Balkans.
Biden started making calls to foreign leaders on Friday, first reaching out to the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.K. on Friday and the French president on Sunday. COVID-19 was also a main point of conversation on those calls.
Jan 25, 7:22 pm
Rep. Raskin reads article of impeachment before Senate
The lead House impeachment manager, Rep. Jaime Raskin, D-Md., read aloud an article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate.
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” Raskin said, reading from the article that the House passed on Jan. 13.
“Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States,” he concluded.
Speaking after Raskin, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the president pro tempore, announced that the Senate was now “ready to proceed with the (impeachment) trial.”
The official trial in Senate is not expected to begin until the week of Feb. 8.
Jan 25, 7:11 pm
House managers deliver Trump impeachment article to Senate
House impeachment managers were delivering an article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate Monday, queuing up a record-setting second trial for him in the chamber.
The managers, led by Rep. Jaime Raskin, D-Md., and appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, silently walked the article across the Capitol — from the House to the Senate — where senators awaited their arrival.
The House voted to impeach the former president on Jan. 13, a week after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 electoral college votes.
Despite the presentation of the article to the Senate today, the official trial is not expected to begin until the week of Feb. 8.
Jan 25, 6:27 pm
Senate confirms Janet Yellen as secretary of the treasury
The Senate Monday voted to confirm Janet Yellen as secretary of the treasury, making her the first woman to lead the department in its over 230-year history.
Yellen won confirmation by a 84-15 vote as she now takes the helm of a department critical in delivering COVID-19 relief aid and managing the economy.
Appointed by former President Barack Obama, Yellen served one term as Federal Reserve chair before former President Donald Trump decided not to re-appoint her to lead the central bank. She was also the first woman to hold that position.
Jan 25, 6:25 pm
Biden predicts up to 660K COVID-19 deaths ‘before we begin to turn the corner’
After Biden signed an executive order aimed to increase the amount of federal spending that goes to American companies, he took questions from reporters on a wide range of topics — as his administration tries to promote an image of transparency.
On COVID-19, Biden said he hoped the rate of vaccination would increase to 1.5 million injections a day and predicted up to 660,000 COVID-19 deaths “before we begin to turn the corner in a major way.”
Asked “roughly when do you think anyone who wants (to be vaccinated) would be able to get it,” Biden said, “this spring.”
But he added about the pandemic in general, “We’re still going to be dealing with this issue in the early fall.”
The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has also said he expects April is when eligibility for the vaccine would open up to all Americans and that it would take until early summer to get the job done.
Biden did not directly answer if teachers should be returning to in-person classroom settings “now,” as a reporter asked, given that reopening schools is key to his agenda in the first 100 days.
“I believe we should make school classrooms safe and secure for the students, for the teachers and for the — the help that’s in the schools maintaining the facilities,” he said.
On the ongoing negotiations over his $1.9 trillion relief package, Biden pointed to his long career in Washington as proof that he can get a deal done, but said that this process is “just beginning” and that it’ll likely be another “couple of weeks” before a deal is reached, adding, “Time is of the essence.”
Addressing his theme of unity, Biden got a chance to reflect what that actually means to him, saying that ultimately it comes down to eliminating “the vitriol.”
“Unity requires you to take away — eliminate the vitriol. … Unity, also, is trying to reflect what the majority of the American people — Democrat, Republican, and Independent — think is within the fulcrum of what needs to be done to make their lives and the lives of Americans better,” he said.
Jan 25, 4:03 pm
Biden signs executive order aimed at strengthening US manufacturing
Ahead of signing a “Made in America” executive order Monday, Biden delivered remarks on how he was fulfilling a long-time campaign promise to increase the amount of federal spending that goes to American companies.
“The previous administration didn’t take it seriously enough,” Biden began. “The result: Tens of billions of American taxpayer dollar supporting foreign jobs and foreign industries.”
“I’ll be signing an executive order in just a moment tightening the existing buy-American policies and go further,” he continued. “That starts with stopping federal agencies from waiving buy-American requirements with impunity as has been going on. If an agency wants to issue a waiver to say, ‘We’re not going to buy an American product as part of this project, we’re going to buy a foreign product,’ they have to come to the White House and explain it to us.”
The federal government spends about $600 billion on contracting per year, and there are already rules in place governing how taxpayer dollars can be spent, how much foreign products can be purchased, and how many foreign components can be brought to the U.S. and assembled here. However, waivers and loopholes allow even more foreign product to be purchased than the rules state.
Biden’s executive order aims to close those loopholes and cut down on the waivers, as well as order an increase in domestic content. It will also redefine what can count as domestic content, create a public website so U.S. companies can more easily see government contract business and determine whether they could make a more competitive bid for it.
The executive order also creates a new senior role at the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the implementation of these new efforts.
Biden signed the order after brief remarks and opened the floor to reporter questions.
Jan 25, 3:44 pm
Leahy issues statement on presiding over Trump’s impeachment trial
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., president pro tempore of the Senate, has posted a public statement confirming he will preside over former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“When I preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, I will not waver from my constitutional and sworn obligations to administer the trial with fairness, in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” Leahy wrote.
Asked earlier on Capitol Hill about his ability to be impartial as he’s been a frequent critic of Trump, Leahy said, “I’m not presenting the evidence.”
“I am making sure that procedures are followed. I don’t think there’s any senator who over the 40 plus years I’ve been here that would say that I am anything but impartial in ruling on procedure,” he added.
Leahy will still get a vote on whether to convict the former president.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump’s first impeachment trial, but now that Trump is no longer the sitting president, Democrats argue Roberts is not obligated to preside. It will be the first time Congress has ever put a former president on trial.
Jan 25, 3:20 pm
Biden imposes, reinstates travel bans in effort to curb COVID-19
Biden’s has imposed a new travel ban into the U.S. for most non-citizens who have recently visited South Africa and reinstated bans affecting travel from Britain, Brazil, Ireland and much of Europe, as the coronavirus continues to rage across the nation a year after the first reported case on U.S. soil.
The White House announced the travel bans in a proclamation on Monday.
Biden last week predicted American deaths from COVID-19 will top 500,000 deaths next month.
Jan 25, 2:31 pm
Treasury Dept. exploring ways to ‘speed up’ putting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, asked whether the Biden administration had a timeline for putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill — an Obama administration effort stalled throughout the Trump administration — said the Treasury Department is exploring ways to “speed up” the process.
“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume steps to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 notes,” Psaki told reporters.
“It’s important our note — our money — reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note will reflect that,” she added. “We’re exploring ways to speed up that effort, but any specifics would come from the Department of Treasury.”
Former President Donald Trump called the effort to put an image of Tubman — an African American woman celebrated for her work freeing slaves during the Civil War — on the $20 bill as “pure political correctness.”
In 2016, the Treasury Department announced Tubman would replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, as part of an effort to get more women on U.S. currency.
Jan 25, 1:58 pm
White House to hold press briefings on COVID-19 efforts three times a week
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, at her daily press briefing on Monday, said the Biden administration will “typically” hold COVID-19 briefings three times a week starting on Wednesday in an effort to be “transparent” with the public.
Asked when Biden expects to have his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal passed through Congress, as the administration pushes pandemic relief as their top priority, Psaki was careful not to promise a timeline.
“There’s an urgency to moving it forward. And he certainly believes it needs to be — there needs to be progress in the next couple of weeks,” she said.
“He proposed his package. He’s getting feedback. We’re having conversations. We don’t expect the final bill to look exactly the same as the first bill he proposed,” she added, asked how Biden will get bipartisan support on the bill as some Republicans are pushing back on the price tag.
Biden last week predicted American deaths from COVID-19 will top 500,000 deaths next month. He’s called on Americans to “mask up” for 100 days and has pledged to have 100 million vaccine shots into the arms of Americans in his first 100 days.
Jan 25, 1:55 pm
Supreme Court ends emoluments suits against Trump
The Supreme Court Monday morning dismissed a pair of cases alleging that former President Donald Trump inappropriately profited off the presidency in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
The move brings to an end a four-year challenge by Maryland, Washington, D.C., and a group of restaurants and hotels that alleged Trump’s hotel in the nation’s capital became a hub of foreign patronage and unfair competitive advantage.
The cases put a spotlight on emoluments and gave the otherwise arcane constitutional provision a starring role in the Trump presidency.
The Supreme Court declared both cases “moot” now that Trump has left office, but did not elaborate further on the decision. It did not provide a breakdown of how the justices may have voted.
Jan 25, 1:27 pm
Nation’s first Black VP swears in first Black Pentagon chief
Incoming Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — the Defense Department’s first Black chief — was ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris — the nation’s first Black vice president — in the Roosevelt Rom of the White House on Monday afternoon.
Austin’s wife, Carlene, held the Bible her husband placed his hand upon for the ceremony.
Moments earlier, Austin stood alongside Biden in the Oval Office as the president signed an executive order stating all Americans, regardless of gender identity, can serve in the Armed Forces.
“I fully support the President’s direction that all transgender individuals who wish to serve in the United States military and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination,” Austin said in a statement Monday.
Jan 25, 12:44 pm
Sen. Patrick Leahy expected to preside over Trump impeachment trial
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. — the Senate president pro tempore — is expected to preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Senators preside when the impeached person is not the president of the United States, according to a Senate source.
The trial is slated to begin the week of Feb. 8 following House impeachment managers delivering the article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate Monday evening.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump’s last impeachment trial.
Jan 25, 11:35 am
Biden reversing Trump’s transgender military ban
Biden is officially reversing a ban on transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, the White House announced in a release.
The controversial ban was put in place by former President Donald Trump in 2017 and reversed the Obama administration’s policy to allow open service by transgender people.
Jan 25, 11:46 am
Biden enters 1st full week as president with only 2 confirmed Cabinet picks
As Biden assumes his first full week in office, he enters with only two Senate confirmed appointees — lagging behind previous administrations in having Cabinet nominees confirmed.
The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. on Monday and will continue considering the nomination of Janet Yellen to be treasury secretary ahead of an evening vote.
After that, House impeachment managers will walk over and read the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate. The trial isn’t slated to start until Feb. 8 to give Trump’s defense time to prepare and Biden the chance to have his nominees confirmed and spending priorities addressed in the Senate.
On the campaign trail, Biden guaranteed his White House would “look like the country.” Half of Biden’s Cabinet picks are women, and the majority are people of color. Biden has noted that many of his selections would be pioneers in their roles — including the first woman to serve as treasury secretary, the first Black defense secretary, the first openly gay man confirmed to a Cabinet role and the first Native American Cabinet secretary.
Last week, Avril Haines was confirmed as the first female Director of National Intelligence and Lloyd Austin as the first Black Pentagon chief.
Jan 25, 10:19 am
Biden to lift ban on transgender people serving in military
Multiple people familiar with the matter confirm that Biden will sign an executive order that will lift the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving in the military on Monday.
That was the controversial ban put in place by former President Donald Trump in 2017 that reversed the Obama administration’s policy to allow open service by transgender people.
Newly-confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — the first Black Pentagon chief — will be on hand at the White House ceremony Monday where the executive order will be signed.
Biden’s public schedule also includes an afternoon signing of an executive order related to American manufacturing and American workers — fulfilling a long-time campaign promise to increase the amount of federal spending that goes to American companies. White House press secretary Jen Psaki is also scheduled to brief reporters at 1 p.m.
Jan 25, 10:02 am
House managers to deliver impeachment article on Biden’s 1st full week in office
House impeachment managers are expected to deliver the article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday evening — triggering the first impeachment trial of a former president that is slated to begin the week of Feb. 8 — giving Biden a two-week window to work on his priorities.
Entering his first full week as president, Biden now gets to work on a sweeping and expensive legislative agenda where the crises are vast and the solutions are complex. An administration official said the president’s conversations with a bipartisan group of lawmakers over the weekend was “constructive,” but already he is coming up against the limits of the inaugural themes that earned him bipartisan praise.
Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney who have warmed to Biden’s themes are balking at his price tags. And members of Congress who might be less sincere in their desire to work with the new White House are finding reasons to complain about the fast executive actions issued by the president.
The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll found hints of a Biden honeymoon, with broad and even somewhat bipartisan support for his handling of COVID-19 and for his aspirations to turn down the temperature on political rhetoric.
But when it comes to policy areas, such support starts breaking down. That includes overwhelming Republican opposition to Biden’s early moves on immigration and the border wall — signature issues of former President Donald Trump that continue to bring out sharp partisan passions.
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